Tigers earn the #5 seed and 1st round bye in AAC Tournament

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – SMU captured the American Athletic Conference regular-season title for the second time in three years and will be the No. 1 seed in the 2017 Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, to be held March 9-12 at XL Center in Hartford, Conn. All 11 teams will compete for the championship title and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

No. 1 SMU (27-4, 17-1 American) clinched the outright conference regular season title with a win over Memphis on Saturday, the Mustangs’ 13th consecutive victory. The Ponies will open tournament play at 12 p.m. ET on Friday versus the winner of No. 8 Temple and No. 9 East Carolina.

No. 2 Cincinnati (27-4, 16-2 American) opens tournament play at 7 p.m. ET on Friday versus the winner of No. 7 Tulsa and No. 10 Tulane. The Bearcats wrapped the regular season with a 67-47 win at UConn on Sunday.

No. 3 Houston (21-9, 12-6 American) clinched the tournament’s third seed with a 73-51 win over East Carolina on Sunday, closing Hofheinz Pavilion in the process. The Cougars open tournament play on Friday at 9 p.m. ET vs. the winner of No. 6 UConn and No. 11 USF.

No. 4 UCF (20-10, 11-7 American) won five straight games to close the regular season and claim a first round bye. The Knights will face No. 5 Memphis, against whom they split the regular-season series, in the championship quarterfinals at 2 p.m. ET on Friday.

No. 5 Memphis (19-12, 9-9 American) earned the fifth spot at the conference championship in head coach Tubby Smith’s first season. The Tigers open tournament play on Friday at 2 p.m. ET vs. No. 4 UCF.

No. 6 UConn (14-16, 9-9 American) claimed the sixth seed after dropping the tie-breaker to Memphis. The defending tournament-champion Huskies will open the championship against No. 11 USF on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. ET.

No. 7 Tulsa (14-16, 8-10 American) will face No. 10 Tulane in the first round of the conference championship on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. The teams met in Sunday’s regular-season finale and split the season series.

No. 8 Temple (16-15, 7-11 American) takes on No. 9 East Carolina in the first round of the conference championship Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET, the first game of the championship. The Owls knocked off USF, 72-60, in their final regular season contest on Sunday.

No. 9 East Carolina (14-17, 6-12 American) will meet No. 8 Temple in the first round of the conference championship. The teams split their two meetings in the regular season.

No. 10 Tulane (6-24, 3-15 American) will be the No. 10 seed in head coach Mike Dunleavy Sr.’s first year. The Green Wave will take on seventh-seeded Tulsa on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.

No. 11 USF (7-22, 1-17 American) opens tournament play on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET as the 11th seed. The Bulls will face off with UConn in first round action.

Packages and single-session tickets are still available for the conference championship. Tickets are available online at http://www.xlcenter.com, in person at the XL Center box office, or by telephone at 877-522-8499. Tickets are also available from The American’s member institutions through the schools’ athletics ticket offices. Fans may visit http://www.TheAmerican.org/MBB for the latest information on the 2017 championship.

The ESPN family of networks will carry the entire championship.

2017 Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship
March 9-12, 2017
XL Center | Hartford, Conn.

First Round – Thursday, March 9
Game 1 (8) Temple vs. (9) East Carolina 3:30 p.m. ET ESPNU
Game 2 (7) Tulsa vs. (10) Tulane 6 p.m. ESPNews
Game 3 (6) UConn vs. (11) USF 8 p.m. ESPNews
Quarterfinals – Friday, March 10
Game 4 (1) SMU vs. Game 1 winner 12 p.m. ESPN2
Game 5 (4) UCF vs. (5) Memphis 2 p.m. ESPN2
Game 6 (2) Cincinnati vs. Game 2 winner 7 p.m. ESPNU
Game 7 (3) Houston vs. Game 3 winner 9 p.m. ESPNU
Semifinals – Saturday, March 11
Game 8 Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner 3 p.m. ESPN2
Game 9 Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner 5 p.m. ESPN2
Championship – Sunday, March 12
Game 10 Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner 3:15 p.m. ESPN