Last week we had some great games here in Conference USA. Wednesday Memphis got by UCF on another one of their patented last second threes, and UAB went to Marshall and simply took care of business. Saturday, UTEP got a scare on the home floor from SMU, while Memphis and Southern Miss duked it out in the forum, and UCF snapped its losing streak at home against Tulsa 58-57. This Wednesday brings two matchups of the top four teams in conference, so there should plenty of fireworks. Here are this week's games of the week.
5.) UCF (15-8, 2-8) @ Tulane (12-12, 2-9) 8:00 p.m. et, Wednesday February 16th
This may be a match up of the two bottom teams in the league standings, but it makes the cut for this week's games of the week for one reason. This is the perfect game for UCF to play in after breaking their losing streak. If they're ready to get back to winning they'll handle Tulane on the road. Tulane is coming off of losses at SMU and Houston, while UCF is coming off its previously mentioned win over Tulsa.
OUTLOOK: The Knights have been competitive lately, they'll take care of business, UCF 71-63.
4.) Houston (12-11, 4-6) @ UTEP (19-5, 7-2) 9:05 p.m. et, Saturday February 19th
This is another game that is big for one reason. If UTEP can knock off Southern Miss in Hattiesburg on Wednesday, this win will get them extremely close, if not in, the top 25. Houston is coming off a win over Tulane, but had been struggling a bit before that. The Cougars dropped five straight close games, two of which were in overtime. The Miners had one game last week, a home contest against SMU. The Mustangs played tough, but in the end the Miners pulled out the 10 point win.
OUTLOOK: Houston ALWAYS brings their best, but the Miners are too much, UTEP 68-59.
3.) Tulsa (13-11, 6-4) @ SMU (15-9, 6-4) 3:00 p.m. et, Saturday February 19th
This is a matchup of two teams trying to stay near the top of the league standings. Tulsa is coming off a one point road loss at UCF on Saturday, but had won three straight prior to that, including over Memphis and UTEP. SMU came into the Don ready to play on Saturday, but in the end the Miners were just too much. The Mustangs lost 67-57. However, they are still playing good ball, and had reeled off five in a row before Saturday's loss.
OUTLOOK: SMU is simply playing better ball than Tulsa right now, Mustangs 57-54.
2.) UTEP (19-5, 7-2) @ Southern Miss (18-6, 7-4) 8:00 p.m. et, Wednesday February 16th - Local, TWC 24
This game could easily be this week's game of the week, and it is definitely the biggest game of the season for UTEP. The Miners dropped SMU 67-57 on Saturday, and Southern Miss loss a good one at Memphis 67-61. Both these teams are vying for the conference title, as well as spots in the NCAA tournament. UTEP has missed opportunities at BYU, and at UAB so for them this is simply a must win. Southern Miss has already been swept by Memphis, and can ill afford to drop another league contest right now.
OUTLOOK: The Miners need this one, and CTF is great at preparing his team for games like these, Miners 73-68.
1.) UAB (18-6, 8-3) @ Memphis (19-6, 7-3) 7:00 p.m. et, Wednesday February 16th - CBS College Sports
The game of the week by default. These two teams have the best RPI rankings in conference, as well as the best NCAA tournament resumes. Thus, this game is given the nod as the game of the week. UAB picked up wins at Marshall, and over Rice, while Memphis won games at UCF, and over Southern Miss. Winner of this game is boosted into the NCAA tournament, while the loser will have some ground to make up in the final weeks of conference play.
OUTLOOK: Memphis is young, but extremely talented. Somehow, they keep finding ways to win, Tigers 75-73.
What a Wednesday we have ahead of us here in Conference USA. UTEP at Southern Miss, UAB at Memphis, the top four teams in conference battling it out not only for the positioning in the conference race, but also for positioning in the race for bids to the NCAA tournament. By far the biggest day of the year for Conference USA basketball. I can't wait.