FAVORITES: Louisville went 14-2 to win the regular-season title, and the Cardinals have won six straight, led by first-team all-conference forward Francisco Garcia. Cincinnati won the tournament on its home court last year as a No. 3 seed, and the Bearcats played Louisville close in both meetings this season, losing by three and seven points. Second-seeded Charlotte comes in having lost two straight, but forwards Curtis Withers and Eddie Basden, both first-team all-league selections, could carry this team a long way.
DARK HORSES: Host Memphis, at 16-14, would likely have to win the tournament to make the NCAA Tournament, but a more realistic underdog is fifth-seeded DePaul, which lost to Charlotte, UAB and Louisville by a combined nine points, and has an explosive star in forward Quemont Greer, a first-team all-league pick. The Blue Demons and Blazers, both arguably on the NCAA bubble, should meet in Thursday's quarterfinals, and Houston and Marquette would have to make the C-USA final to make a convincing argument for an at-large berth.