Five American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Teams Selected for Postseason Play

From The American:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – SMU and Cincinnati will compete in the 2015 NCAA Championship, highlighting a group of five American Athletic Conference teams that were selected Sunday for postseason play.

In addition to the two NCAA tournament teams, Temple, Tulsa and UConn were chosen for the National Invitation Tournament.

The American, which saw a member school (UConn) capture the national title in the conference’s first year, enjoyed the best postseason record of any league in 2014 as five teams were a combined 13-4 in the NCAA and NIT tournaments (.765).

SMU, which is ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press poll, won The American’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after the Mustangs punctuated their regular-season conference title by winning the American Championship crown Sunday – their first conference tournament championship since 1988. SMU was seeded No. 6 in the South Region and will face No. 11-seeded UCLA Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky (3:10 p.m. ET, truTV).

SMU will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993. The Mustangs have made 10 previous NCAA appearances, including a national runner-up showing in 1956. SMU coach Larry Brown, who cut the nets with Kansas in his last NCAA tournament game in 1988, served as UCLA’s head coach for two seasons (1979-81).

Cincinnati will make its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and its sixth postseason appearance in the last seven years as the Bearcats face Purdue in Louisville as part of the Midwest Regional (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS). Seeded No. 8, the Bearcats take a 22-10 overall record into the tournament. Cincinnati will make its 29th NCAA appearance as the Bearcats bid for a seventh Final Four appearance and third NCAA title. Cincinnati won the NCAA title in consecutive seasons in 1961 and 1962 and last reached the Final Four in 1992.

Temple, which narrowly missed a spot in the NCAA field, was chosen as a No. 1 seed in the NIT. The Owls will face Patriot League regular-season champion Bucknell Tuesday at the Liacouras Center (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3). Temple will make its 18th NIT appearance and their first since 2006. The Owls previously won NIT championships in 1938 and 1969.

Tulsa was selected to the NIT as a No. 2 seed as the Golden Hurricane host William & Mary Tuesday at the Reynolds Center (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN3). Tulsa won NIT titles in 1981 and 2001 and is making its 11th appearance in the tournament.

UConn, which finished as the American Athletic Conference Championship runner-up, will play in the NIT for the 13th time overall and the first time since 2010. The No. 4-seeded Huskies, who won the NIT title in 1988, will host No. 5 Arizona State Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion in the first round of the tournament (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

American Athletic Conference Selections to the 2015 Postseason

NCAA Championship

Second Round – Thursday, March 19

No. 6 SMU vs. No. 11 UCLA – South Region, Louisville, Ky. (3:10 p.m. ET, truTV)

No 8. Cincinnati vs. No. 9 Purdue – Midwest Region, Louisville, Ky. (7:10 p.m. ET, CBS)

National Invitation Tournament

First Round – Tuesday, March 17

No. 1 Temple vs. No. 8 Bucknell (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

No. 2 Tulsa vs. No. 7 William & Mary (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

First Round – Wednesday, March 18

No. 4 UConn vs. No. 5 Arizona State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

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