American still a power conference

Center Amida Brimah and Connecticut look to win back-to-back national titles in 2014-15. Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports

The American Athletic Conference held its football media day last week in Newport, Rhode Island, and league commissioner Mike Aresco marked the occasion by delivering an impassioned defense of his newly configured conference.

That is to be expected. After all, when you just lost two programs to the likes of the ACC (Louisville) and Big Ten (Rutgers) and have had to import three new ones from Conference USA (East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa), your league is going to need an impassioned defense.

On this front Aresco did not disappoint. In prepared remarks that quoted everyone from Abraham Lincoln to St. Francis of Assisi, the commissioner stated plainly: "We consider ourselves a power conference."

Aresco was speaking of football, but he raises a good question with regard to basketball. In the wake of Connecticut's national championship on the one hand but the Cardinals' departure on the other, is "power conference" a fair characterization of the American in terms of hoops?