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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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Florida Atlantic Owls center Vladislav Goldin Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

The additions could mean better tournament resumes

If you start with 11, subtract three and then add six, my abacus tells me the American will grow to 14 teams next season. Yes, losing Houston, Cincinnati, and Central Florida to the Big 12 was a blow to the basketball acumen of the league, adding over half of Conference USA could make the league better off in the long run.

Not only will the new-look league now have an even number, but the additions of Florida Atlantic, UAB, North Texas, Rice, Charlotte, and Texas-San Antonio also give it a deeper look from top to bottom, especially if some of the remaining members return to form. The depth is important because it should do a few things for the AAC. First, it should be able to help the out-of-conference strength of schedule for the league. Last season the American had just four teams with a top 100 NCSOS.

Adding three more teams that had the same will certainly help, as will adding the quality of these teams when it comes to building the resumes of teams within conference play. Last year if you were in the AAC and wanted an NCAA tournament quality win, you had just two chances, Houston and Memphis. This season that number will double, if not triple.

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The last and most important impact adding these teams should have on the conference is its ability to earn multiple tournament berths on a more consistent basis, and not just bids, but bids with higher seeds. Besides Houston, no team from the American has earned a top-six seed since Cincinnati in 2018 as a No. 2, and that’s not good enough if you want to be considered to be in the upper echelon of college basketball conferences. The additions the American has made have the potential to put them there.