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American determined to make mark

Despite defections, conference out to prove it belongs with the best

Updated: February 14, 2014, 11:14 AM ET
By Matt Fortuna | ESPN.com

His high-wire act seemingly complete, his head no longer spinning, Mike Aresco needs less than a minute to begin telling you about how much simpler life is now as commissioner of the American Athletic Conference.

"It's fun now," Aresco said. "I can't tell you a year ago it was a lot of fun, going through all the different things we had. But it's come out in a good place, so everybody's happy."

Five teams ranked in The Associated Press men's basketball poll has helped boost optimism ...

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