The Dig: C-USA Postseason Round-Up & Paydirt Pete Dances Edition

Video Courtesy of Sergio A. Rodriguez on Vimeo.

In The Dig:  Paydirt Pete kills it with some folklorico moves; Joe Lunardi absolutely demolishes Memphis, Southern Miss. and Tulsa say "Thanks But No Thanks" to the CBI and CIT, Marshall Wins Their First Postseason Game, and time to start looking at the New Mexico Lobos.

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The Miners

Preview for Next Year:  UNM coach Steve Alford told reporters that a UTEP- UNM hoops game was already being scheduled before the NIT paired the long time rivals together

But Alford said a game against UTEP is in the works for next season, and this will be a good tune-up for his bunch.

"I think this is a tremendous experience for us," Alford said, "anytime you can make it to season 4, which is obviously postseason. The guys’ goal was the make the NCAA Tournament, and to fall short of that and now get an opportunity to play in the NIT, I hope gives us something to get excited about. It gives them a chance to get started for next season a little bit early."

Man Down:  UNM has lost their only senior starter, point guard Dairese Gary, for the NIT due to a torn ACL.

Not Too Shabby:  The Miners will play tomorrow night at 7:00 MST.  ESPN is televising every NIT game this year.  Here are the commentators for UTEP and New Mexico.

NIT First Round: UTEP at New MexicoBob Wischusen & Stephen Bardo

Lost in the Shuffle:  The All-CUSA Tournament Team:  Randy Culpepper and Christian Polk both made the All C-USA Tournament team.  So did ECU's Darrius Morrow who was an absolute stud in ECU's win over UAB.

Can't Help But Root for the Blazers

At Last:  UAB coach Mike Davis finally got UAB into the NCAA Tournament.

"I’m very excited for our fans, the city of Birmingham and everyone associated with UAB," said Mike Davis, the 2011 C-USA Coach of the Year.  "This is a great accomplishment for this basketball team. I am proud of the way our guys have worked throughout this season and they are deserving of this reward. We are excited but we just want to stay focused on what we do and continue to get better every day."


They're Skeered:  The Alabama Crimson Tide are simply scared of playing UAB, the state of Alabama's best hoops program, in basketball.  Now that UAB received a bye over the Tide, the Birmingham News John Solomon is stating the obvious:  it's time for Alabama to man up and play the Blazers.

For years, some Alabama supporters have dismissively said there's nothing to gain for the Crimson Tide to play UAB in basketball. They've thumbed their nose at UAB -- even more than ESPN did Sunday -- as if playing on the same court would devalue Alabama basketball.

Today, the argument rings more hollow than ever. And not for the obvious reason about bringing much-needed basketball publicity to this state.

The Outrage Continues:  ESPN's Eamonn Brennan just can't believe UAB in. 

The decisions to include UAB and VCU in the tournament -- two teams most thought were on the outside looking in, especially UAB -- while leaving out the likes of Colorado and Virginia Tech (especially Colorado) are shocking. No, neither the Buffaloes nor the Hokies are overwhelmingly accomplished. But seeding and selection are relative only to this year's field. And in this year's field, Colorado's résumé is blatantly, unarguably better than UAB's. So is, frankly, Virginia Tech's résumé

The Explanation:  NCAA Committee Chairman Gene Smith explained why VCU and UAB are dancing.

Smith said that some committee members did put stock in UAB winning the regular-season title in Conference USA. Conversely, tying for a conference title, like Saint Mary's did, didn't hold as much weight out of the WCC. Neither did having the second-most wins in the SEC and winning a division title like Alabama. Smith said neither Saint Mary's nor Alabama had enough votes to get a selection

An Eye on the Tigers

Joe Lunardi is Back:  Fresh off his less than stellar Selection Day, Joe Lunardi absolutely demolished the Memphis Tigers chances against Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (Thanks to JakeProbst for the link).  Among his quotes:  

On Memphis 2011 Season:  "Let's be honest, Memphis has been a trainwreck pretty much all season.  They've been undisciplined on the court, have had off court issues....."

On the Arizona game:  "This I think might be ugly."

On The Tigers Chances:  "Tigers need to regroup and get themselves set and hopefully play with a lot more consistency next season."

Pastner Playing his Alma Mater: Josh Pastner is familiar with the Arizona Wildcats.

Pastner was a walk-on player at Arizona who later spent six seasons as a full-time assistant under Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson, who retired in 2008.

Where is Everybody Headed?

As for Southern Miss, the Eagles just said no to the CIT and CBI.  Like Asalom pointed out yesterday, check out this incredible stat about the four RPI Top 100 teams that didn't get an NCAA or NIT Bid...

According to RealtimeRPI.com, three of the four teams with RPI rankings in the top 70 that didn’t make either the NCAA Tournament or NIT are from Conference USA – Southern Miss, Marshall and Central Florida. Southern Miss was slotted No. 63 in Sunday’s RPI rankings. "However, we have missed too much school as it is, so we have decided to respectfully decline their invitations. Academics always come first, so we will look toward graduation, and then turn our attention to next season.

Fiscal Reality:  The Tulsa Golden Hurricane did the same thing as USM.  For TU, it was NIT of Bust.

The Golden Hurricane was not selected to the National Invitation Tournament's 32-team field, and athletic director Bubba Cunningham said earlier in the evening that the school would not play in the College Basketball Invitational or CollegeInsider.com Tournament. TU coach Doug Wojcik chose not to comment about the situation late Sunday night

The Herd:  Marshall is in the CIT and they playtonight at 7 pm EST against Ohio. .

SMU in the CIT:  SMU did decide to play in the CIT and will play Wednesday night against Oral Roberts.

The Knights:  Sorry, missed this until right now, UCF is in the CBI and will play St. Bonaventure Wednesday night.  Tickets have just been discounted to $5 a ticket.  Frown Face.

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