American Athletic Conference Power Ratings

Last Updated: 2018-01-03

After looking at the America East Conference, we’ll take a good-sized step up in class with our next conference, as well look at the American Athletic Conference, which is paced by Cincinnati and Wichita State, as was expected before the season began. We see a wide range in philosophies here in terms of preseason schedules, as Cincinnati and SMU have feasted on weak teams, while Temple and UConn have done battles with some of the toughest teams in the country, both ranking in the top 15 in terms of strength of schedule.

American Athletic Conference Power Ratings
Cincinnati 93
Wichita State 92
SMU 90
Houston 87
Temple 81
Central Florida 80
Connecticut 79
Tulsa 79
Tulane 77
Memphis 76
South Florida 66
East Carolina 66

The interesting thing about the AAC is that the power ratings tend to have a correlation with a team’s spread record. Of the top five teams only Wichita State has a losing spread record, while the bottom four teams all have losing records against the spread. UCF and Tulsa have been the best two teams in terms of ATS performance, with UCH at 7-2 and Tulsa at 8-3, while Uconn is 3-7 and Memphis and USF are both 3-7-1, while East Carolina is a dismal 1-5. Whether it’s a case of opposing teams fired up to play a team from a major conference or the team being slightly overrated due to its conference affiliation is a bit of a tough call.

UConn could be a good candidate to show some improvement in the second half of the season, particularly in the ATS department when they’re underdogs. I’m still not entirely sold on the Huskies as favorites, although they’re likely to improve on their 0-3 record. They are 0-6 against top 50 teams straight-up so far this season.

Temple is another team who could fare better as an underdog than as a favorite and a team who pull off an upset or two when hosting one of the ‘Big 3’ teams in the conference.

Wichita State has been favored in every game and are being asked to lay some steep numbers, including last game out when they failed to cover as 10.5-point favorites at UConn.

Houston and SMU are the only two teams to post wins against top 25 teams, as Cincinnati and Wichita are both 1-2 against top 50 teams and 0-1 against top 25 squads, while Temple is 2-2 against top 50 teams, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the numbers tighten a little bit as conference play really kicks in.




The second conference we’ll look at is the American Athletic Conference, which features several top-tier teams, most noticeably Wichita State, Cincinnati and SMU. But there are also your Tulanes and South Floridas of the college basketball world. The first conference we looked at was the American East Conference.

American Athletic Conference Opening Power Ratings
Wichita State 97
Cincinnati 94
SMU 92
UConn 84
Temple 83
Houston 83
UCF 83
Tulsa 81
Memphis 79
East Carolina 75
Tulane 72
USF 68

Last year’s closing ratings had SMU and then Cincinnati, with UCF and UConn next, so the Bearcats are expected to make a little bit of a move. But both teams trail Wichita State, as the Shockers joined the conference this season. The American Athletic Conference was ranked as the seventh-toughest last season and will likely move up a spot or two if Wichita State plays as expected.

There’s also no change expected at the bottom of the conference standings, as Tulane and South Florida both failed to win 10 games last season and now will pick up two more tough conference games against Wichita State.

The Connecticut Huskies were one of those teams where there was a bit of disagreement, as there was a 10-point difference between their highest power rating and their lowest. Memphis was another team which had a 10-point difference and their rating of 79 is pretty much right in the middle.

The top three rated teams were pretty consistent in the different ratings, with an average of three to four points difference between the four sets of power ratings we used to come up with our opening numbers.

Tulsa was the most consistent team with a difference of two points between the highest and lowest ratings.

It’s possible to create the dual-tiered power ratings that we use for professional sports, but it’s probably more effort than it’s worth. While two professional teams who score 100 points and allow 95 can be given the same power rating, that’s not the case in college basketball. If Wichita State scored 83 points and allows 63 points per game and Albany does the same, you can’t expect the teams to be equal, as Wichita State will have played much tougher competition.

For most handicappers it’s hard enough to keep track of single-layered power ratings for college basketball, let alone create game-value ratings for comparing different teams. There likely isn’t enough time in the day to use the dual-tiered ratings for all 32 conferences.

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