UConn Huskies picked to be top dog in The American

David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

The Big East's legal successor will feature both of last year's national title finalists.

New conference, same old expectations for the University of Connecticut Huskies who were picked to finish atop of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) by the conference’s coaches.

After besting the Louisville Cardinals in the national title game, the Huskies will play the Cards in their first year in the AAC and Louisville’s last. They will match up on Feb. 9 and March 3 if you’d like to mark that on your calendar.

It’s a shame for basketball fans that they’ll only get one year of what could have been a budding rivalry between the two powerhouses, but with Rutgers and Louisville bailing for the Big 10 and ACC respectively, expect UCONN to be the top dog (ha ha ha) in this conference in the coming years.

UCONN coach Geno Auriemma is always good for a quote and his "First Night" speech is no exception. Go ahead and enjoy.

A quote from that article: "Auriemma closed his two-and-half minute speech at First Night with this gem: 'When you’re back home and people ask you, ‘Hey, you guys used to be in the Big East. What league are you in now?’ Just tell them, we’re in a league of our own, God damnit! We’re UConn.'"

Love that man.

This season is going to serve as a weird transition for the legal successor to the Big East. To catch you up to speed, here are the 10 teams that will compete in The American (they really don’t like the AAC acronym because it could be confused with the ACC, I guess).

  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Houston
  • University of Louisville*
  • University of Memphis
  • Rutgers University*
  • University of South Florida
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Temple University
The asterisk denotes these teams won't be a part of the conference come the 2014-15 season. Replacing those two schools will be East Carolina University, Tulane University and the University of Tulsa. Got that covered? Okay.

Some recent tournament appearances from AAC members: USF in 2013; Rutgers in 2012 and UCF, Houston and Temple in 2011.

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I'll be following the AAC for Swish Appeal this season, so keep an eye out for more posts like this in the coming days to familiarize yourself with the NCAA's newest conference. I'm looking forward to the new college basketball season -- no offseason in women's basketball!
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