American releases conference pairings

The American Athletic Conference announced its conference pairings today, determining the Owls’ conference slate for the upcoming 2014-15 season.

The announcement also introduced new members East Carolina University, Tulane University and the University of Tulsa. Despite the added teams, The American will maintain its 18-game conference schedule, concluding that instead of expanding the schedule, each team will instead face eight of its 10 conference foes twice and the remaining two teams once.

This decision led to the determination that Temple will face Houston and Memphis once and the remaining eight twice, as they did last year.  The Owls will host Houston and play in Memphis.

The Owls lost leading scorer Dalton Pepper to graduation as well as leading rebounder and defensive anchor Anthony Lee to Ohio State. Temple will instead look to other options, such as a bona fide starter in junior guard Will Cummings and a proven sixth man in junior guard Quenton DeCosey to help improve their 4-14 conference record last year.

Cummings, a junior who averaged 34.4 minutes per game, will be the team’s leading returning scorer, averaging 16.8 points per game on 45 percent shooting.

The conference championship tournament will be held May 12 through May 15 at The XL Central in Hartford, CT.

American commissioner Mike Aresco said the decision to hold the tournament on a weekend would help with traveling fans and ESPN coverage, which could potentially improve TV ratings and generate more revenue for the conference.

-EJ Smith