The last that we had heard about the AAC tournament, Mohegan Sun was planning on cobbling together an offer to get bring the ‘old Big East’ to Connecticut to play out their league championship.
That does not look like it’s going to end up happening, however.
According to a report from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal’s Kyle Veazey, the Tiger’s interim president Brad Martin is “very, very optimistic” that the city of Memphis will land the right to host the tournament at the FedEx Forum. Adding to that speculation, the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Memphis has emerged as the front runner to host the event while Tampa has officially pulled out of the running.
The AAC is essentially Conference USA with Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida — and, for one season, Louisville — thrown into the mix. I’m not sure that those schools would want to keep the league tournament in the arena that the Tiger’s play their home games for the long-term, but that it is an NBA arena and that it is guaranteed to be filled (at least when Memphis is playing) is an attractive option.
Or maybe the ADs and presidents that are voting just have a soft spot for Memphis barbecue and Beale Street.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: