The top four teams in the American Athletic Conference, according to RPI, will be facing off in the AAC Tournament semifinals tonight at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The Saturday quarterfinal games did not have many surprises, top seeds UConn and USF took care of business while Tulane and East Carolina's wins were upsets on paper but in reality not very surprising.
All Games on ESPNU - Times are EST
5:30pm - No. 5 East Carolina (21-9) vs. No. 1 Connecticut (30-1)
UConn is coming off a 93-34 quarterfinal victory on the strength of 18 points from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, one of six players who scored in double figures for the Huskies. American Conference Player of the Year Breanna Stewart added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
East Carolina and UConn met twice during the regular season with the Huskies routing the Pirates both times. However, Geno Auriemma was very upset with the way his team played during the first meeting against ECU's fast-paced attack.
"East Carolina has a lot of players that are interchangeable," Auriemma said. "They are athletic, play different defenses, and are a great offensive rebounding team. We will have to work really hard to keep them off the boards."
"Their aggressiveness and athleticism is something we will have to match," Mosqueda-Lewis added.
Jada Payne (22 points) led four players Pirates in double figures in Saturday's 77-71 win against Temple. I'Tiana Taylor scored 11 points and brought down 11 rebounds.
ECU coach Heather Macy knows the short turnaround to prepare for UConn will be a challenge.
"UConn is an incredible basketball team and it's an incredible challenge," Macy said
7:30pm - No. 6 Tulane (22-9) vs. No. 2 South Florida (25-6)
Tulane has blown by two early-round opponents during their tournament run this weekend. The Green Wave is one of the last four teams out and desperately needs to beat USF tonight to get off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament.
Tulane knocked off No. 3 Tulsa 71-53. Leslie Vorpahl scored 17 points and was 4 of 6 from three. The Green Wave dominated the Golden Hurricane defensively, forcing 27 turnovers.
The Bulls took care of the Memphis Tigers in the other quarterfinal. Alisia Jenkins scored 19 of her 23 points during the first half. USF star Courtney Williams had a quiet 6 points. Coach Jose Fernandez was able to rest his starters, by playing 10 players 13 or more minutes.
USF beat Tulane handily in their only meeting of the regular season, 64-45.C