The American Today
∙ #11/11 Cincinnati won its 15th consecutive game on Wednesday, never trailing in its 60-50 victory over UCF. The Bearcats’ 23-game home winning streak marks just the third time Cincinnati has posted a 20-plus game win streak inside Fifth Third Arena.
∙ #25/rv SMU held its 18th consecutive opponent to 66 or fewer points in its 66-50 victory at Temple. Semi Ojeleye posted his fourth double-double of the season, scoring a career-best 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds as the Mustangs won their 17th game in their last 18, losing once since Dec. 1, 2016.
∙ Cincinnati guard Jacob Evans III was named a finalist for the Jerry West Award, presented to the nation’s top shooting guard. Evans, a sophomore, is 14th in The American at 13.4 ppg, hitting 37.6-percent of his three-point field goal attempts.
∙ Memphis’ Dedric Lawson is a finalist for the Karl Malone Award, presented to the country’s top power forward. At 19.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg and 3.5 apg, Lawson is just off pace to become the first NCAA Division I player to average more than 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists since at least 1993-94.
∙ UCF’s Tacko Fall is a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, presented to the nation’s top center. Fall, a sophomore, is on pace to break the NCAA single-season field-goal percentage record. Fall is currently hitting on 75.7 percent (128-of-169) of his attempts; the Division I record is 74.6 percent, set by Oregon State’s Steve Johnson (235-of-315) in 1980-81.
∙ Semi Ojeleye was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Seven Team. The SMU standout holds a 3.65 GPA in Psychology while averaging 18.2 ppg and shooting 41.6 percent from three-point range.
∙ Through Feb. 8, seven of the nation’s top 45 teams in field-goal percentage defense reside in The American (UCF – 35.5, 1st; Cincinnati – 37.2, 3rd; East Carolina – 38.3, 7th; SMU – 38.8, 12th; UConn – 39.4, 19th; Houston – 40.0, 27th; Memphis – 40.7, 43rd).
∙ Both UCF’s Matt Williams and Houston’s Damyean Dotson are on pace to break The American’s single-season record for three-pointers. Williams (90) and Dotson (82) are tracking down the mark of 96, set by Houston’s Jherrod Stiggers in 2014-15.
∙ Cincinnati’s 15-game winning streak matches the longest by the program since a 15-game winning streak during the 2013-14 season. The current streak also is the fourth-longest under Mick Cronin. At 11-0 in conference action, the Bearcats have equaled the team’s best start since opening the 2013-14 season with an 11-0 run in conference play.
∙ Dedric Lawson’s 33 career double-doubles are sixth among active NCAA Division I athletes and most among sophomores. With 16 double-doubles this season, Lawson is tied for fifth in the NCAA. Together with his brother, K.J., the Lawson’s have a combined 25 double-doubles this season.
∙ Tickets are now on sale to the 2017 American Men’s Basketball Championship, which will run March 9-12, at XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Tickets are available online at www.xlcenter.com, in person at the XL Center box office, or by telephone at 877-522-8499.
∙ The American is one of the youngest conferences in the country, based upon percentage of returning possession-minutes. With only 47.7 percent of possession minutes back, The American ranks 31st among 32 conferences.
· The American Athletic Conference had five teams reach the 2016 postseason. UConn, Cincinnati, Temple and Tulsa were all NCAA Tournament participants, while Houston was selected for the NIT.
The four bids to the NCAA Tournament were the sixth-most among the 32 Division I conferences.
· Entering the 2016-17 season, the 11 men’s basketball coaches of The American have a combined 61 NCAA Tournament appearances as head coaches. The newest coach in the conference, Memphis’ Tubby Smith, leads the way with 18.
· American head coaches boast a combined five national championships (whether as head coach, assistant or player), 15 Final Fours, 23 Elite Eight appearances and 40 Sweet Sixteen appearances.