The No. 1 Houston Cougars take on the Memphis Tigers in the American Athletic Conference Championship game on Sunday afternoon. The Cougars defeated Cincinnati to reach the final while Memphis took down Tulane to advance. We’re going to go over the potential impact this game might have on March Madness and Selection Sunday.
Bracketology 2023: Houston vs. Memphis
What happens if Houston wins
The Cougars get a No. 1 seed in the tournament. It’s pretty simple. The No. 1 team in the nation wins its conference tournament and that’s usually what happens on Selection Sunday. The big thing is will the committee give Houston the top overall seed or will another 1-seed get that honor. It’s hard to argue against Houston for that spot.
The Cougars finished the season with just two losses — one to now No. 4 Alabama and a bad one-point loss to Temple at home. Despite playing in a weak conference, Houston has plenty of quality wins, including over Virginia, Oregon, Oral Roberts and Saint Mary’s. Houston will also likely finish No. 1 in KenPom and NET ratings. The Marcus Sasser injury is worth monitoring. Sasser may sit out the championship game and if it’s serious, could hurt the Cougars in the tournament. It shouldn’t have much impact on how the committee approaches Houston’s seeding.
What happens if Houston loses
The Cougars still get a No. 1 seed but it may not be THE top overall seed. Alabama plays Texas A&M in the SEC title game on Sunday and a win could move the Crimson Tide ahead of Kansas. The Jayhawks lost to Texas in the Big 12 title game. They should still be a 1-seed but could be the 3 or 4 in that group. Since UCLA lost in the Pac-12 title game to Arizona, there’s a good chance the Bruins are a 2-seed.
As for the Tigers, a win in the title game gets them in with ease; Memphis was going to make the tourney win or lose. Beating Houston likely jumps the Tigers up to an 8-seed or 7-seed in the tournament. Right now, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Memphis as a No. 9 seed in his Bracketology. The committee also may not buy into this all that much if Memphis wins and Houston is without Sasser.