After a good start in its first year of existence, the American Athletic Conference appears more and more to be a conference searching for an identity. On the hardwood, this became even more apparent as another year passed without a clear signature program, something that might surprise you at first.
You might look at the membership and think, The American has Cincinnati, Memphis and UConn, so they have their signature programs. They have SMU on the rise under Larry Brown, though we knew all along he wouldn’t be there for long given his age. But the bottom line tells a different story. Since UConn won the national championship in 2014, the Huskies have not been an elite program, missing the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and finishing in the middle of the pack in the conference this past season. Memphis has been trending downward, while Cincinnati has been a solid, consistent NCAA Tournament team but not one that has contended for a conference title. SMU has been on the rise, but they could not be a part of postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.