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Outside of the major conference powers, the emerging American Athletic Conference is quietly producing perennial heavyweight teams to launch into the NCAA tournament year in and year out. Under Mick Cronin, Cincinnati has been to six straight NCAA tournament appearances, and SMU has seemingly taken a giant step forward this season under first year coach Tim Jankovich. 

Both teams figure to make some noise this postseason -- and that starts on Thursday when the AAC conference kicks off in Hartford.

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Here is how you can watch the tournament, along with picks for our college basketball experts.

When: March 9-12, 2017
Where: XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut
TV: ESPN
Stream: Watch ESPN

Follow: CBS Sports App

Predictions

Gary Parrish: Cincinnati

Matt Norlander: Cincinnati

Jerry Palm: Cincinnati

Howard Megdal: Cincinnati

Kyle Boone: SMU

Schedule/TV/Live Stream (All times Eastern)

Thursday, March 9 (First round)
Game 1: No. 9 East Carolina 80, No. 8 Temple 69
Game 2: No. 10 Tulane 60, No. 7 Tulsa 66
Game 3: No. 11 USF 66, No. 6 UConn 77
Friday, March 10 (Quarterfinals)
Game 4: East Carolina 77, No. 1 SMU 81
Game 5: No. 5 Memphis 54. No. 4 UCF 84
Game 6: No. 2 Cincinnati 80, No. 7 Tulsa 61 
Game 7: No. 6 UConn 74, No. 3 Houston 65
Saturday, March 11 (Semifinals)
Game 8: No. 1 SMU 70, No. 4 UCF 59
Game 9: No. 2 Cincinnati 81, No. 6 UConn 71
Sunday, March 12 (Championship)
Game 10: No. 1 SMU vs. No. 2 Cincinnati | 3:15 p.m. | ESPN | WatchESPN app