clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Our favorites, sleepers, and dark horses in the 2021 American Athletic Conference tournament

We take a look at one favorite, one sleeper and one dark horse candidate to win it all in the 2021 American Athletic Conference mens’s basketball tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Southern Methodist at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The American Athletic Conference basketball tournament gets underway this week and there’s a clear frontrunner that’s expected to win it all, but don’t count out the other teams just yet.

We’ll be taking a look at some of the best teams in each conference, and providing picks and predictions for each conference tournament. Plenty of favorites will win, but we’ve got some sleepers to consider that might be able to pull off a big upset on the way to the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s the bracket for the American Athletic Conference Tournament with TV listings, dates and times.

Favorite: Houston Cougars -182

Houston has been in the top-10 for most of the second half of the season. They’ve only lost three games throughout the entire season, all of which came in AAC play. Because of those losses, the best team in the AAC didn’t actually win the regular-season title, so they’re sure to want to put their foot down this week and assert their dominance.

Each time they lost a game, particularly their most recent loss to Witchita State, they used it as a sort of fuel, defeating their next opponents with no mercy, winning by an average margin of 28 points. Quentin Grimes leads the team with 18 points per game and KenPom has UH ranked as not only the 9th best offense in the nation but the 9th best defense as well.

Sleeper: Wichita State Shockers +275

The Shockers were one of the only teams to beat Houston all season, and that win ended up being enough for them to claim a regular-season AAC title. WSU is a solid team and have only lost four games all season. They’re a team that rarely loses by a lot of points and rarely blows anybody out either. For the most part, they fight hard and know how to win very close games.

Tyson Etienne leads the offense, scoring 17 points per game. The Shockers are ranked by KenPom as the 40th best offensive unit in the nation, which is second, only behind Houston, in the AAC.

Dark Horse: Tulsa Golden Hurricane +6000

Tulsa, much like WSU, was also able to knock off Houston earlier this season. They struggled a bit to close out the season, losing five of their last seven conference games. But all those losses have been extremely close with one going to overtime, and their average margin of loss in those games was under five points.

Brandon Rachal is the team’s leading scorer with 15 per game and the Golden Hurricane have one other person scoring in double figures. Tulsa also shared part of the AAC regular-season title before COVID ended the 2020 campaign, so they’re capable of exciting things.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN). 21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.