For a second throughout final season’s AAC Event, the league’s prognosis appeared significantly bleak, as Wichita State’s loss to Cincinnati within the semifinals put the Shockers on the NCAA Tournament bubble and moved the convention perilously near being a one-bid league for the primary time in its historical past. In the end, although, the Shockers made it to the Huge Dance, Houston made a Last 4 run and Memphis gained the NIT because the league made probably the most of an in any other case down season with a very good postseason.
However with the times now numbered for Cincinnati, Houston and UCF within the AAC, the strain is on for the league to capitalize earlier than it loses a few of its muscle to the Huge 12 sooner or later. Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA are in line to join the league once that trio departs, however these six will not come near changing the basketball clout of Cincinnati and Houston.
For the sake of the league’s future it might be helpful if Memphis, Wichita State, SMU, Tulsa and Temple might begin to set up themselves as the category of the new-look league by displaying the basketball acumen that has outlined their applications previously. If that group can collectively make progress within the 2021-22 season, then maybe the AAC can place itself to retain “main convention” standing amongst school basketball’s punditry even after the Cougars and Bearcats are gone.
For now, although, Houston stays the league’s most regular program, and the Cougars will attempt to fend off ultra-talented Memphis this season with defending regular-season champion Wichita State lurking close by as a risk to return to the NCAA Event.
CBS Sports activities AAC Preseason Participant of the Yr
Tyson Etienne, Wichita State
Tyson Etienne gained the AAC’s Participant of the Yr award final season whereas keying an unbelievable regular-season league title for Wichita State throughout a breakout sophomore 12 months. The 6-foot-2 long-range gunner caught fireplace in the course of the Shockers’ eight-game profitable streak that spanned six weeks late within the season, as he averaged 18.1 factors on 42.6% 3-point taking pictures in the course of the span. He additionally turned in efficiency of 25, 29 and 25 factors in opposition to high quality foes Oral Roberts, Ole Miss and Houston earlier within the season. For such a high-usage participant, Etienne takes nice care of the basketball, and if Wichita State makes a return journey the NCAA Event, he’ll be a giant motive why.
CBS Sports activities AAC Preseason Coach of the Yr
Penny Hardaway, Memphis
Early in his tenure, Penny Hardaway appeared hellbent on taking part in a villainous function in school basketball and sticking it to the game’s energy institution. He needed “all of the smoke,” he mentioned and has gotten loads of it via three seasons on the job. However as Hardaway enters Yr 4, the previous Tigers’ nice and NBA All-Star is poised for a breakthrough. With the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class becoming a member of a formidable nucleus of returning expertise, the Tigers ought to make the NCAA Event for the primary time in his tenure and advance past the primary weekend. Maybe the one factor that may derail him now are the repercussions from his preliminary brashness. The Tigers are awaiting a ruling from the IARP amid the fallout of the James Wiseman saga, and that looming choice appears way more able to derailing this season than something the Tigers will encounter within the AAC.
CBS Sports activities AAC Preseason Freshman of the Yr
Emoni Bates, Memphis
As soon as regarded by some as the best highschool prospect since LeBron James, Bates enters the AAC as a well known title throughout the basketball panorama. The hype subsided when he stopped rising earlier than reaching Kevin Durant’s bodily dimensions, however Bates will nonetheless be a superb school participant and certain a future lottery decide within the NBA Draft. Listed at 6-foot-9 and 190 kilos, he’s projected to play a degree guard sort function a lot in the best way that his coach, Hardaway, as soon as did. His chief competitors for the highest freshman honors will seemingly be teammate Jalen Duren. Collectively, the duo is predicted to assist lead Memphis to its first NCAA Event throughout Hardaway’s tenure.
CBS Sports activities AAC predicted order of end
The consensus order as voted by our consultants with how they voted under
Most overrated workforce
It isn’t an enormous discrepancy, however two colleagues venture Tulsa to complete sixth within the league, as you may see under. In contrast, the league’s coaches venture the Golden Hurricane to complete seventh. The latter appears extra seemingly, and guard play is the rationale why. The AAC is crammed with high-quality lead guards. Tulsa could discover one in the course of the season, however there’s not one leaping off the web page but. With Brandon Rachal and Elijah Joiner departed, the strain can be on returning guards Darien Jackson, Keyshawn Embery-Simpson and Curtis Haywood II to step up offensively. Transfers Sam Griffin (UT-Arlington) and Ladavius Draine are candidates to carry buckets as properly. However, on the entire, Tulsa’s guard scenario appears bleaker than anybody else’s within the league apart, maybe, from South Florida.
Most underrated workforce
Temple’s begin and cease 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic was an incoherent mess additional convoluted by accidents. The Owls completed simply 5-11 (4-10 AAC), with their closing six losses all coming by single digits because the roster grew to become aggressive however struggled to shut tight video games. Now, the Owls are a seasoned group that ought to have the ability to compete with nearly anybody within the league, apart from perhaps Memphis and Houston. Although lean up entrance, their backcourt appears strong, and there’s a probability for third-year coach Aaron McKie to information the Owls to a .500 or higher mark within the AAC.
How our consultants voted
https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/information/aac-expert-picks-2021-22-projected-order-of-finish-bold-predictions-most-overrated-and-underrated-teams/ | AAC knowledgeable picks 2021-22: Projected order of end, daring predictions, most overrated and underrated groups