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SPORTS ARENA

Louisville Wins American Athletic Basketball Tournament Held First Time in Memphis, Tennessee at FedEx Forum

 

By William M. Larsha, Jr., Columnist/Sports Reporter

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

MEMPHIS, TN-  The first ever American Athletic Conference basketball tournament was held in Memphis, TN from March 12-15 at FedEx Forum. After 4 days of competition between all 10 of the new leagues teams, the final came down to Louisville and the University of Connecticut.

Louisville reached the final by first destroying Rutgers by a score of 92-31 in the quarterfinals on March 13, 2014. The next day they had a 29 point win over Houston in the semi finals by a score of 94-65. 

Connecticut reached the final by first beating the host team Memphis by a score of 72-53. The 19 point loss for Memphis was one of its worst ever in FedEx Forum. Many thought it was their worst performance in many years. The score was surprising since Memphis was expected to reach the tournament final, given the Tigers had home court advantage. Connecticut went on to surprise Cincinnati 58- 56 in the next day's semi final to advance to the final against Louisville.

Louisville defeated Connecticut 71-61 to win the championship, though they will not be back to defend it next year since the will be joining a new conference, the ACC. The Cardinals controlled the game from the beginning until the end. Connecticut got in striking distance once or twice, but could never get close enough to threaten the Cards.

For Louisville, forward Montrezl Harrell led the scoring with 22 points. He also grabbed 11 rebounds. Russ Smith, the All American guard scored 19 points. Smith was also named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.