Jan 28, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson argues a call while playing against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first half at Fertitta Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Houston’s Kelvin Sampson says it is time for American Athletic Conference to get its due in basketball
Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson is frustrated with the lack of respect American Athletic Conference men’s basketball gets from a national perspective.
Following No. 3 Houston’s 75-69 comeback win over Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon, Sampson praised the Bearcats for the game plan they came into the Fertitta Center with. He also talked about the level of talent across the entire conference.
“There is such an ignorant narrative going around about our conference and how it is not that good,” Sampson said. “That is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. That tells you how most people don’t know what they don’t know. This is a really good conference.”
The head coach stated that Temple is a good team that is getting better. There is not another team in the country with as good of a duo like senior guard Kendric Davis and fifth-year big man DeAndre Williams, Sampson added.
Tulane is a strong program, and the Bearcats have plenty of talent, including senior guard Landers Nolley II, who is playing as well as anyone in the conference right now, Sampson said.
“Quit acting like this is a one-team league [in reference to teams that make the NCAA Tournament],” Sampson said. “This is not. These teams are right there. We are a good team too, but we are not that far ahead of these teams.”
Following Sunday’s slate of games, the AAC has three teams in the top 100 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool or NET rankings. Houston is first. Memphis is 41st. Central Florida is 65th. Cincinnati is 78th. Tulane is 101st, and Temple is 116th.
The AAC joins the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Mountain West, Pac 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference as the only leagues with four or more teams in the top 78 of the NET rankings.
“This is a good league,” Sampson said. “I mean, it is a really good league, and I’ve coached in a lot of good leagues. This is a really good conference, and it is about time people start giving these teams their due.”