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Huskies give conference some cred

The succession of shining moments forged by Connecticut's men and women basketball teams in the last three weekends provided a few beams to a fledgling conference in dire need of them.

Even as it regresses into a mid-major football league by most observations, the American Athletic Conference has some serious hoops cache today, courtesy of mainly the Huskies.

From the men's standpoint, that status isn't likely to be deflated by the exits of Louisville and Rutgers (and arrivals of Tulsa, Tulane, East Carolina and ultimately Navy). Consider:

* American men's teams were a combined 13-4 in postseason play, giving the league the highest postseason winning percentage (.765) in the nation. Louisville accounted for only two wins and a loss in that equation.

* The American went 9-3 in the NCAA men's tournament for a winning percentage (.750) that trailed only the SEC (.800).

* The league accounted for three of the five men's Associated Press first-team All-Americans: UConn G Shabazz Napier, Cincinnati G Sean Kilpatrick and Louisville G Russ Smith.

* The American is the only league in the nation to place a team in the semifinal rounds of the NCAA men's and women's tournament, the NIT and WNIT. Each championship game of those tournaments featured a conference team

* For the second year in a row, it will enter a season (2014-15) with the reigning men's and women's NCAA champion.

Statistically, the American ended the season with the only men's player in the country with a triple-double (Napier). Four men's teams (Cincinnati, Louisville, SMU, UConn) finished among the country's top 36 in scoring defense and the top 20 in field-goal percentage defense.