The American, SEC agree to basketball scheduling alliance

On Thursday, the Southeastern Conference and the American Athletic Conference announced a scheduling alliance to help improve the quality of nonconference play for the two leagues. The release said that four schools from each conference will participate in two-year, home-and-home series that will begin in the 2019-20 season. 

“I am extremely pleased that we have entered into this scheduling alliance with the SEC,” American Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “SEC Basketball offers quality opponents which will elevate our nonconference schedules. The additional Quadrant 1 and 2 games for our members and the SEC will prove mutually beneficial when Tournament bids are awarded on Selection Sunday."

“Men’s basketball in the SEC has been on the rise and this scheduling alliance will help to continue the growth of the sport,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “This will provide four high quality games for both leagues during non-conference play.”

The SEC/American Alliance matchups for the 2019-20 season will be officially announced in late May. The schools will then proceed to determine dates for these games, and all four showdowns will be carried on ESPN networks.

Four AAC teams and seven SEC teams were selected to the 2019 NCAA Tournament with Houston advancing to the Sweet 16, Kentucky advancing to the Elite Eight and Auburn advancing to the Final Four after downing the Wildcats in the Elite Eight. The Wildcats beat the Cougars to advance to the Elite Eight.

The SEC has had 15 NCAA Tournament selections over the past two years and every team in the league has appeared in the tournament over the last five years. The American has enjoyed as much success as ever by matching a league record four programs being selected for March Madness with seven total competing in postseason play.

"This agreement demonstrates the continued growth and appeal of American Athletic Conference Basketball," Aresco continued. "I want to thank Greg Sankey and Dan Leibovitz for their work on and support for this arrangement, which strengthens the men’s basketball ties between our conferences that began with our basketball officiating consortium.”

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