Conference USA Tournament Preview: Quarterfinals

Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Day 2 of the Conference USA Tournament is underway and here is your preview.


The Conference USA tournament kicked off yesterday at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and there was no shortage of good games. The number 7 seed UAB Blazers defeated the SMU Mustangs in a close fought battle by a final of 53-52. The cross city foes, Houston Cougars and Rice Owls gave us another good game that almost had an upset. The Owls were down by as much as 18 points, but could not complete the comeback and lost by a final of 72-67. The final game was a combination of the first two games. Marshall led early and often, but ended up succumbing to a Tulane Green Wave comeback, losing by a final of 66-64.

The first game of the night will be the 2-7 match up between the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and the UAB Blazers. They will tip off at 1:00 pm ET. Head to head this season, the Golden Eagles won both match ups between the two schools. The Blazers are led by Rod Rucker who averages 14.2 points a game while pulling down 8.2 boards. Jordan Swing is another player that UAB relies on thanks to his 14.2 points per game and 6.0 rebounds. For the Golden Eagles, they look to Dwayne Davis who averages 15.9 points per game with 4.4 rebounds.

The Blazers are currently ranked 76th in the nation in scoring at 71.6 points per game. UAB ranks 64th in the nation in rebounding at 37.1 and 14th in assists at 16.1 per game. The Blazers are currently ranked 184th in the nation in field goal percentage at 43.3 percent per game.

The Golden Eagles are currently ranked 40th in the nation in scoring at 73.7 points per game. So. Miss ranks 129st in the nation in rebounding at 35.5 and 33rd in assists at 15.1 per game. The Golden Eagles are currently ranked 13th in the nation in field goal percentage at 48.0 percent per game. MinerRush Prediction: I see So. Miss winning this match up vs. UAB by a final of 75-69.

The second game of the night will be the 3-6 match-up between the UTEP Miners and the Houston Cougars. Tip off for this game is at 3:00 pm ET. Head to head this season, both teams won on their home court. The Houston Cougars are led by Joseph Young who averages 18.2 points per game while pulling down 3.6 boards. The Cougars have more fire power thanks to TaShawn Thomas (16.8 ppg) and Danuel Thomas (12.4 ppg). The Miners are led by Julian Washburn who averages 12 points per game with 4.3 rebounds. John Bohannon provides a much needed spark for the Miners with 10.8 points per game with 6.4 rebounds.

The Cougars are currently ranked 8th in the nation in scoring at 78.4 points per game. Houston ranks 28thin the nation in rebounding at 38.5 and 38th in assists at 15.0 per game. The Cougars are currently ranked 32nd in the nation in field goal percentage at 46.8 percent per game.

The Miners are currently ranked 274th in the nation in scoring at 63.2 points per game. UTEP ranks 300th in the nation in rebounding at 31.4 and 130th in assists at 13.4 per game. The Miners are currently ranked 100th in the nation in field goal percentage at 44.7 percent per game. MinerRush Prediction: UTEP will win a very close fought battle today at the BOK Center. UTEP: 65 Houston: 61

The third match-up of the night is the 1-8 game between the Memphis Tigers and the Tulane Green Wave. Tip off for this game is slated for 7:00 pm ET. Memphis won the only matchup between the two schools back on January 22nd by a final of 71-60. The Tulane Green Wave are led by Josh Davis who averages 17.2 points per game with 10.3 boards. Ricky Tarrant also pitches in 16.3 points per game with 3.5 assists. The Tigers are led by Joe Jackson who averages 13.8 points per game with 4.9 assists. Adonis Thomas averages 11.5 points per game and 4.4 rebounds for the Tigers.

The Green Wave are currently ranked 130th in the nation in scoring at 69.1 points per game. Tulane ranks 138th in the nation in rebounding at 35.3 and 270th in assists at 11.5 per game. The Green Wave are currently ranked 258th in the nation in field goal percentage at 41.7 percent per game.

The Tigers are currently ranked 27th in the nation in scoring at 74.9 points per game. Memphis ranks 46th in the nation in rebounding at 37.7 and 6th in assists at 17.0 per game. The Tigers are currently ranked 19th in the nation in field goal percentage at 47.6 percent per game. MinerRush Prediction: Memphis is just too strong of a team for Tulane after that tough battle against Marshall last night. Memphis: 73 Tulane: 59

The final match-up of the night is the 4-5 match up between the East Carolina Pirates and the hometown Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Tipoff is set for 9:30 pm ET. The Pirates won the only matchup between the two schools back on February 20th by a final of 72-63. The Golden Hurricane are led by James Woodard who averages 11.9 points per game with 5.9 rebounds. Pat Swilling Jr. averages 10.8 points per game and 2.3 points off the bench. The Pirates are led by Maurice Kemp and his 18.4 points per game. Miguel Paul averages 13.1 points per game with 6.9 assists for East Carolina.

The Golden Hurricane are currently ranked 164th in the nation in scoring at 67.9 points per game. Tulsa ranks 83rd in the nation in rebounding at 36.7 and 225th in assists at 12.1 per game. The Golden Hurricane are currently ranked 177th in the nation in field goal percentage at 43.4 percent per game.

The Pirates are currently ranked 14th in the nation in scoring at 77.2 points per game. East Carolina ranks 115th in the nation in rebounding at 36.0 and 4th in assists at 17.3 per game. The Pirates are currently ranked 90th in the nation in field goal percentage at 44.9 percent per game. MinerRush Prediction: Just because you’re the home team in the tournament, does not mean you will make the championship game. East Carolina: 71 Tulsa: 62

The winner of the UAB-SMU game will face the winner of the UTEP-UofH game. The winner of the Memphis-Tulane game will face the winner of the ECU-Tulsa game. If the first day is any indication of what to expect from this tournament, keep 911 on speed dial because these games might just give you a heart attack.

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