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AAC Basketball Power Rankings Week 17

SMU and Cincinnati are still at the top as the conference tournament nears.

NCAA Basketball: Southern Methodist at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season ended with a whimper as top teams took care of business, and bottom teams looked like bottom teams. The lone exception was Tulane’s surprising 81-69 victory over Tulsa. Now it’s time for the real fun to begin — March Madness. Here’s a look at how everyone ended the regular season.

No. 11 USF (7-22, 1-17) (LW 11)

USF ended with two more losses.The Bulls almost pulled off a major upset against UCF, but faltered down the stretch to give the Knights a 59-56 victory. It’s been a season to forget for the Bulls, but the foundation of Michael Bibby, Tulio Da Silva, and Malik Fitts is solid enough to rebuild the program around. It might not be next year, but they’ll be back eventually.

This week: vs. UConn (Round 1, AAC Tournament

No. 10 Tulane (6-24, 3-15) (LW 10)

Tulane shocked the conference and picked up its first AAC victory against a team that wasn’t USF. The Green Wave will have a rematch against Tulsa in the first round of the AAC tournament, so it’s not completely out of the question that they could win a postseason game. If they do, their reward will be a match against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

This week: vs. Tulsa (Round 1, AAC Tournament)

No. 9 East Carolina (14-17, 6-12) (LW 9)

The Pirates split their games last week, beating UConn at home before dropping a road game against Houston. The win over the Huskies was their best win of the season. Senior Caleb White led ECU to the victory, scoring his career-high in his final home game with 28 points on 7-of-13 shooting from behind the three-point line. The Pirates play Temple in the first round of the AAC Tournament, a team they split with during the regular season.

This week: vs. Temple (Round 1, AAC Tournament)

No. 8 Temple (16-15, 7-11) (LW 8)

The Owls ended the season with victories over Tulane and USF to put them over .500 for the regular portion of the campaign. It’s been a disappointing year for Temple, a team many thought could compete for the conference title when it was slaying giants in November. Instead, the Owls will face East Carolina in round one of the tournament on Thursday.

This week: vs. East Carolina (Round 1, AAC Tournament)

No. 7 Tulsa (14-16, 8-10) (LW 7)

Tulsa dropped both of its games last week, and dropped all the way from third place in the conference at the beginning of February to seventh by the end of the season. The drop means the Golden Hurricane will have to play in round one, and even if they beat Tulane they’ll have to face Cincinnati in round two. It’s a very tough draw for this feisty Tulsa team.

This week: vs. Tulane (Roundd 1, AAC Tournament)

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 UConn (14-16, 9-9) (LW 5)

The Huskies had won seven of eight games and looked poised to get in position for a late season run, but after dropping both games last week they’ve now lost four in a row and seem ready to end this nightmare of a season.

This week: vs. USF (Round 1, AAC Tournament)

No. 5 Memphis (19-12, 9-9) (LW 6)

The Tigers beat Tulane before getting absolutely decimated by SMU to end the season. Memphis lost by 41 points and allowed the Mustangs to shoot 60.7 percnt from the field with 14 made three pointers. That’s a tough note to end the season on, and now the Tigers matched up against a UCF team that just beat them by 15 points a couple of weeks ago.

This week: vs. UCF (Roundd 2, AAC Tournament)

No. 4 UCF (20-10, 11-7) (LW 6)

The Knights finished their season with a narrow road win against USF. After three straight rough seasons, UCF has to be thrilled with how far it has come. Th Knights upset Cincinnati, and recorded quality wins against Houston, Memphis, Mississippi State and the College of Charleston. They’ll get Memphis in round one, and then perhaps an SMU team they lost to 65-60 earlier in the season.

This week: vs Memphis (Round 2, AAC Tournament)

No. 3 Houston (21-9, 12-6) (LW 3)

The Cougars were easily defeated by Cincinnati early in the week, before dominating ECU to close out their season. Early in conference play Houston felt destined to end the season as the fourth or fifth best team in the conference, behind both Memphis and Temple, but after winning eight of its final 10 games its clearly established itself as the best team behind SMU and Cincinnati. They Cougars will get a first round bye and then face the winner of UConn/USF on Friday.

This week: vs. UConn/USF winner

No. 2 Cincinnati (27-4, 16-2) (LW 2)

The Bearcats ended the season in style, easily defeating both Houston and UConn. They’ve now held their last three opponents to 53, 47 and 47 points, respectively, and appear hungry for a potential rematch against SMU in the conference championship. They’ll face the winner of Tulsa vs. Tulane, two teams they’ve beaten a combined four times already this season.

This week: vs. Tulsa/Tulane

No. 1 SMU (27-4, 17-1) (LW 1)

Damn, this team is good. The Mustangs embarrassed both Tulsa and Memphis last week, and are on an absolute roll heading into the conference tournament. They’ve now won 13 games in a row and 23 of their last 24. The only team to comfortably defeat them all season long was Michigan way back on Nov. 18, when they met in the championship game of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden. They’ll face the winner of the Temple vs ECU game on Friday.

This week: vs Temple/ECU winner