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AAC Basketball: 5 key storylines to watch this 2023 offseason

Mar 12, 2023; Fort Worth, TX, USA; A view of the American Athletic Conference Tournament logo during the game between the Houston Cougars and the Memphis Tigers at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2023; Fort Worth, TX, USA; A view of the American Athletic Conference Tournament logo during the game between the Houston Cougars and the Memphis Tigers at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Charlotte 49ers head coach Ron Sanchez Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Charlotte 49ers head coach Ron Sanchez Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /

Is Charlotte a hidden gem among the new additions?

The top three finishers in Conference USA, Florida Atlantic, UAB, and North Texas are the most recognizable ones but there is another team that had success in March and will be joining the AAC this season, the Charlotte 49ers. Not much is known of the reigning CIT champs compared to the other three March darlings.

Head coach Ron Sanchez went 22-14 on his fifth season with the team leading them to their first postseason berth since 2012-13 and their highest win total since Bobby Lutz won 23 all the way back in 1998-99. You could see things building for the 49ers when they won 17 in 2022 and bumped that number up to 22 and the best season in decades for the program.

So, what does the AAC have with the addition of Charlotte? Sanchez will have some work to do this summer because his two leading scorers from this past season, Brice Williams and Aly Khalifa are currently in the transfer portal. If the duo does leave that would leave junior forward Igor Milicic, Jr as the team’s top returning scorer. Charlotte is a team that likes to play slow, with only North Texas playing slower last season.

Offensively they’re a team that doesn’t turn the ball over, just under 11 per game last season, and have been very effective shooting the ball over the last two years. Over that time, they are 35th in effective field goal percentage, 38th in two-point percentage, 66th in from deep, and 32nd in free throw percentage. If they can build upon the past two seasons, the American might have a hidden gem in a Charlotte program heading into unchartered territory.