Conference USA Basketball Power Rankings

USA TODAY Sports

Here are the Conference USA Basketball Power Rankings for the week of December 3rd, 2012.

After a couple week break, we're back with another edition of the Conference USA Basketball Power Rankings. It hasn't exactly been a great start for the league, especially for Memphis who has already fallen out of the top 25. Let's see how they all line up.

12. Rice Owls (2-5) Last: (W) vs. Houston Baptist, Up Next: vs. LIU Brooklyn

There's no doubt that the loss of so many key pieces to this team has put them in a deep hole. Their only two wins on the season have come against St. Edwards and Houston Baptist, and their losses are coming by an average of 13.4 points. That said, they've definitely improved over the opening weeks of the season, but they've still got a long way to go. They won't be in action again until next week.

11. UTEP Miners (2-4) Last: (W) vs. New Mexico State, Up Next: vs. Idaho

The Miners ended a four game skid in dramatic fashion, knocking off rival NMSU 56-55 last Wednesday. They're still struggling to find their way offensively, but the return of guard Konner Tucker should help matters, as will the addition of McKenzie Moore when he becomes eligible. The Miners will take on Idaho this week, and will then have an extremely tough stretch after that. They'll make their way up this list as the season progresses, but for now, this is where the belong.

10. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (4-3) Last: (L) @ Wichita State, Up Next: vs. Missouri State

The Hurricane started out the season strong, but have since lost their way, losing two in a row and three of their last four. Most recently, they lost by 26 at Wichita State. The other two losses have come to Stephen F. Austin and Cal State Northridge. They will now return home to face Missouri State, and then TCU. The non-conference slate isn't getting any easier so they've got to get things turned around quickly.

9. UAB Blazers (4-4) Last: (L) @ #14 North Carolina, Up Next: @ Middle Tennessee St.

The Blazers have four losses on the young season, but in their defense, they have come against teams that are a combined 24-6, including two that are ranked in the top 20. They've been great a great offensive team, and they rebound well, but they just haven't been able to outscore the better teams they've faced. The good news is, the meat of the non-conference slate is behind them, and while its not exactly easy from here on out, I'd expect them to make a push heading into conference. Up next, they've got a tough road matchup at MTSU.

8. East Carolina Pirates (6-1) Last: (W) vs. St. Andrews, Up Next: @ #20 North Carolina

The Pirates have made their way to a 6-1 start, but they have done so by beating subpar opponents. Three wins have come against non-division 1 schools, including last night's win over St. Andrews, and two other have come against teams with a combined 3 wins this year. They now enter a tough stretch that features games at North Carolina and at UMASS, we'll see where they stand after their next three games.

7. Houston Cougars (6-2) Last: (W) @ TCU, Up Next: vs. Texas Southern.

The Cougars opened the season with five straight wins, none of which were much to write home about. They then lost two in a row, including a home loss to Prairie View. They responded well with a road win last night at TCU, but their youth is showing through their inconsistent play. The good news is, with not a single test left on the non-conference slate, they'll have some time to get things straightened out before conference play arrives. Up next, they'll take on Texas Southern.

6. Marshall Thundering Herd (5-3) Last: (W) vs. UNC-Wilmington, Up Next: vs. West Virginia

This may be a little low for the Herd to be on this list, but the truth is they've struggled in the early going, despite what their record says. We gave them a pass early on after the loss to Villanova, but the losses to South Dakota State and Hofstra aren't acceptable, even though SDSU is a pretty good ball club. More than just the losses though, the Herd nearly let Nevada come back on them, and also struggled with Morehead State and UNC Wilmington. Frankly, they just aren't playing like one of the top teams in C-USA right now, but there's still plenty of time for them to show otherwise, starting with West Virginia tonight.

5. Central Florida Knights (4-2) Last: (W) vs. Florida Tech, Up Next: vs. Bethune-Cookman

The Knights recently snapped a two game losing streak by bouncing Florida Tech 90-62, but the jury is still out on just how good this team really is. They did pick up a big win over South Florida in the season opener, but they've lost both their games against quality opponents since then. Up next they'll take on Bethune-Cookman, and they still have a couple tough ones out of conference, including a rematch with USF. We'll know more about them at that point.

4. Tulane Green Wave (7-2) Last: (W) Nichols St., Up Next: @ San Diego

The Green Wave are another team that is expected to do well in C-USA this year, but its still unclear just how good they actually are. They've lost both their games against quality opponents, but they've won the rest, with the exception of one, by double digits. Up next they'll head to San Diego, and they've still got out of conference games against Pepperdine and Alabama. They'll have their chances to prove they're one of the top teams in the league.

3. Southern Miss. (6-2) Last: (L) @ #8 Arizona, Up Next: @ La Tech

The Golden Eagles have lost two in a row, but cancelled out their poor performance at NMSU a couple nights ago by nearly knocking off #8 Arizona in Tucson last night. They're currently in the middle of a stretch that features six road games in seven contests, so they've got their work cut out for them. But, they've got a good mix of talent and experience on the team, and should be one of the top teams in C-USA as the season progresses. Up next, they're at La Tech.

2. SMU Mustangs (8-1) Last: (W) vs. Hofstra, Up Next: @ Rhode Island

Larry Brown has his Mustangs playing extremely well here in the early going, and they've got a couple good wins against teams like TCU and Utah. But, the meat of their non-conference slate is still to come, as they'll travel to Utah, and will also have Wyoming at home. Those games will tell us a bit more about this team, but at this point it seems like they're for real. Up next, they'll be at Rhode Island.

1. Memphis Tigers (4-2) Last: (W) vs. Tennessee-Martin, Up Next: vs. Ohio

Some may not agree with the Tigers being number 1 on this list, but the truth is that others with better records don't necessarily have great wins, and/or have lost to lesser opponents than the Tigers have. Memphis' only losses are against Minnesota (now #14), and VCU (only losses are against Duke, Missouri, and Wichita St.), both quality opponents. They've still got a lot to prove, but they'll have their chances with Ohio, Louisville, Tennessee, and Xavier still left on the non-conference schedule. Up next, they take on Ohio.
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