This is certainly a feather in the American Athletic Conference's hat, particularly after all the conference reshuffling and upheaval that led us to this point. With about a month to go in the regular season the AAC has five -- FIVE -- teams in the Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll (and Geno Auriemma's Huskies are No. 1 on the women's side).
By comparison, that's more than the Big 12, the ACC, the SEC, the Pac 12 and, well, every other conference but the Big 10, which also has five. Put differently: No conference has more teams in the top 25 than the AAC.
Cincinnati is 10th, Louisville is 13th, Memphis is 20th, SMU is 23rd, and UConn is 24th. And the 19-5 SMU Mustangs are making their first top-25 appearance since 1985. Not surprisingly, this is welcome news to AAC commissioner Mike Aresco.
"Having five top-25 teams from a 10-team league is certainly great news for the American Athletic Conference," he said, via TheDay.com. "I congratulate our teams on their accomplishments thus far. This is further evidence of how far we have come as a conference in less than a year and I applaud our coaches and players for the level of competition our conference has enjoyed all season."
And UConn coach Kevin Ollie added: "It's great that our conference is being recognized throughout the country for the terrific season it's having. We've known since the conference games began that there are no easy games in The American, especially on the road. I'm glad people realize how many good teams we have in the league."
Memphis coach Josh Pastor echoed similar sentiments: "I'm excited for the league having five teams ranked, but it's not a surprise to me. Since the preseason, I've said numerous times that The American is one of the top two to three leagues, top-to-bottom, in the country, and this week's poll shows the quality of depth the league has."