The UConn Huskies dominate the basketball world so resoundingly that fans may forget they even belong to a conference. But, they do — the American Athletic Conference (AAC), which includes 11 other teams. UConn tops the conference standings, of course, but here’s a look at what has been going on with a few of other teams in the AAC this season.
Nearly-undefeated in the American
The No. 21* Tulane Green Wave have a respectable 6-1 record for the season and are second in the AAC, behind UConn. However, all winning records are not created equal, which makes the Green Wave’s record look a tad less stellar upon closer inspection. This team’s five wins came against unranked teams, while the sole loss was handed to them by No. 2 California, on Nov. 23. Additionally, all of Tulane’s wins came at home, in the Big Easy, except for its Nov. 24 win against Cleveland State at the San Diego Thanksgiving Tournament. Thus, for Tulane to be considered a conference challenger, the Green Wave will need to beat some ranked teams and win some games on the road.
Also sitting on a 6-1 record in the AAC are the No. 40 Central Florida Knights who, unlike the Green Wave, have had the chance to tally more road wins (three). The Knights’ sole loss — also on the road — came against Central Michigan, on Nov. 21. The Knights are third in the conference right now, but upcoming contests against Duquesne, No. 7 Syracuse and No. 27 Quinnipiac later this month — as well as a tilt with in-conference rival South Florida in early January — could put that standing to the test.
Just a few weeks ago, the South Florida Bulls were in the AP top-25, at No. 17. But a season-ending knee injury to Kitija Laksa — the reigning Latvian National Player of the Year — tipped the Bulls into struggle. In the next game following Laksa’s injury (on Nov. 18), Laura Ferreira stepped up big, with a 34-point game that included 8 three-pointers (both career-highs), to get the Bulls the 17-point win over Oklahoma. South Florida then lost two games in a row at the Paradise Jam over Thanksgiving weekend, but has since put together a two-game win streak that includes a four-point victory over UCLA in its third Paradise Jam contest (on Nov. 24), and a 43-point blowout of New Hampshire (on Nov. 30). The Bulls should have no trouble with their schedule through Christmas, but the end of the month brings stiffer competition, with January’s in-conference battles bringing the Bulls opportunities to prove their mettle — at least against the AAU teams not named UConn.
*Rankings in this article are according to the NCAA Women’s RPI, as of games played through Sunday, Dec. 2.
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