It seems as though the AAC is starting to realize that it needs its "powerhouse" teams to play as often as possible (though the term "powerhouse" is subject to opinion). Last week, the conference released both the final AAC tournament details and the regular season basketball pairings for 2016.
The tournament will once again be played in a city where one of the schools is located (UCF/Orlando). The major benefit of it being played in Orlando is that UCF does not have the best basketball team and ideally it will not have too much of a home court advantage during the tournament. Even though the home court advantage might not be a major factor this year, it still cannot be ignored how biased the tournament remains when it is held in the city of one of the teams that is playing.
We all saw how UCONN effectively ran the table this year in the AAC tournament, beating USF, UC, and Tulsa before losing to SMU in the finals. If you watched the games, you could hear the advantage UCONN had as they played on a court that was 5 miles away from their campus in a city that is without a doubt almost entirely Husky fans. It is a welcome sight to see the tournament played in a much larger city, with a far more diverse fan base.
Taking a look at the basketball pairings, someone in the AAC basketball scheduling office made the smart decision to have most of the top teams playing each other twice during the regular season. We have seen some questionable scheduling from the conference in the football season (we still have not played UCF in football... someone explain that), and it is reassuring to see that the basketball schedule is starting to look stronger.
That means that the top teams (UCONN, SMU, Temple, Tulsa, and Memphis) will all play the Bearcats twice for a home-and-home series. There is not much more that UC could ask for in terms of the scheduling, but it looks like the AAC doesn't have much of a choice. If the AAC wants to generate excitement, it needs its best teams meeting as much as possible.
Tulane and UCF are the two exceptions. While it will be disappointing to not be able to avenge the buzzer beater loss to Tulane at home this year, UC will still be able to take on UCF at home, which will allow the 7'6", 270lbs mammoth Tacko Fall to grace the floor of Fifth Third with his manly presence. I don't know about anyone else, but a 7'6" human being is no joke. That's EIGHT INCHES TALLER than Octavius Ellis.
7'6" Tacko Fall with 4'8" UCF cheerleader pic.twitter.com/O39lJ37yeJ— Sports Pics (@AmazingSprtsPic) January 29, 2015
Get ready, UC fans.