Tacko Fall, B.J. Taylor hope to lead Central Florida past Cincinnati, Houston to top of conference | AAC preview
Central Florida was the preseason pick to win the league, while Temple will have plenty of competition among teams vying for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Temple will have plenty of competition among American Athletic Conference teams competing for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Led by guard Quinton Rose (14.9 ppg) and Shizz Alston (13.3 ppg), Temple (17-16) is among many who expect to challenge.
Central Florida (19-13) was picked by to win the league in the preseason coaches poll. The Owls were picked sixth.
UCF is led by 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall, who missed the second half of last season due to shoulder surgery, and senior guard B.J. Taylor (15.9 ppg), the AAC preseason player of the year.
Last season, Cincinnati (31-5), Wichita State (25-8), and Houston (27-8) all made the NCAA Tournament. Cincinnati and Houston were picked to finish second and third, respectively.
Wichita State, which must replace several key players — including 76ers guard Landry Shamet — was picked eighth.
Cincinnati junior Jarron Cumberland (11.5 ppg) was a preseason first-team all-conference pick and is the only double-figure scorer returning for the Bearcats.
Houston is paced by reigning AAC sixth man of the year Armoni Brooks and senior Corey Davis Jr., who averaged 13.1 points last season and is the Cougars' leading returning scorer.
Memphis (21-13) and UConn (14-18) were both picked above Temple at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. Both have new coaches — former NBA star Penny Hardaway has taken over at Memphis, and Danny Hurley left Rhode Island for Storrs.
Senior Jeremiah Martin led Memphis in scoring last season, averaging 18.9 points. He was a preseason first-team all-AAC pick, along with UConn's 6-3 senior Jaylen Adams (18.1 ppg).
SMU, picked seventh, is led by two preseason second-team all-AAC selections: seniors Jahmal McMurray (14.7 ppg) and Jarrey Foster (13.2 ppg).
Wichita State returns just 11.2 minutes from last year, led by senior forward Markis McDuffie (8.5 ppg).
Tulane — coached by former Sixers guard Mike Dunleavy — rounds out the bottom half of the conference, along with Tulsa, East Carolina and South Florida.