Tuesday, May 21, 2013
3-point shot: New conference takes shape
By Andy Katz
1. The American Conference will have an 18-game true round-robin schedule with 10 league members, according to sources at the league meetings in Florida. The conference also discussed the site of the 2014 men's basketball tournament and Memphis is the early frontrunner. The hope is that the FedEx Forum can be a destination that supports all of the games, not just the Tigers. Hartford and Mohegan Sun Casino were also candidates and are still in pursuit among a few others. The American will play primarily conference games on Thursday or Wednesday-Saturday. The conference will be up to 11 teams in 2014-15 when Louisville and Rutgers leave for the ACC and Big Ten, respectively, and East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa join the league. Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan weren't in attendance but Tulane's Ed Conroy, East Carolina's Jeff Lebo and Tulsa's Danny Manning were at the meeting. The American Conference has a year to discuss how the 11-team schedule will unfold but there are likely two choices. The league could play eight teams twice and two teams once (one home and one away) or go with 20 league games for a true round-robin. The league's coaches were shown the new logo for the league which will be unveiled soon. The league is also in competition with its former members, the new Big East, in trying to secure a new coordinator of officials. Both leagues will be attempting to lure the top officials as they play likely at the same time on Saturdays.
2. Memphis is putting together another stellar nonconference schedule with a home-and-home series with Oklahoma State, starting in Stillwater, a home-and-home series with Gonzaga, starting in Memphis, playing Florida in the Jimmy V Classic in New York City as well as being in the Old Spice Classic. Memphis is in the event with Oklahoma State, which means the Cowboys and Tigers will likely be on opposite brackets to avoid playing twice. If they do then it would likely not be until either the championship or in a loser's bracket.
3. Oklahoma State is also trying to put together a strong slate with a team that can contend for a conference title. The Cowboys will host Memphis and South Carolina, play at South Florida, are in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, and play Colorado at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The game is a prep game for the Buffaloes in advance of the Pac-12 tournament at the same site, while the Cowboys get a quality NCAA-like game against a former Big 12 rival. The Cowboys host Robert Morris, the NEC champs and slayer of Kentucky, but are still looking for a quality opponent for the all-college classic in Oklahoma City.