Another week in the books, and the title chase is starting to take shape minute by minute Thursday, and Saturday nights.
UTEP shook up the standings by charging its way to a first place tie with their win against LA Tech.
Southern Miss. is looking stronger, and stronger, and what can one make out of UAB's slide?
Can Tulsa keep surging and be a factor later in the season?
Plenty of questions still remain as we reach the halfway point this weekend.
Lets see where everyone stacks up.
Up Next: vs North Texas, Thur
vs Tulsa, Sat
|Last Week Ranking: #15
Rice fought hard, though came up short Saturday against UTEP in a game that was shocking folks across the C-USA. This is where most expected the Owls to be, but this team is scrappy, and when they knock down shots, they become real pesky. If Max Gercey was 6’2 or taller, he would be at a BCS conference school. He is something real nice to build to around. Ben Braun is a good coach and drew tons of praise from Tim Floyd, though there is some recruiting to do before Rice is respectable.
||Marshall Thundering Herd
Up Next: @ So Miss, Fri
@ Tulane, Sun
|Last Week Ranking: #16
Marshall split last weekends home visits from the Florida schools, though is still very much struggling. Shout out to our friend GoHerd, I feel ya bruh, keep supporting your team, at least you got Rakeem Cato coming back :) Elijah Pittman is not walking through the door anytime soon. Tom Herrion needs to start prepping that resume, talk out of Huntington is he will get the ax.
Up Next: @ Old Dominion, Thur
@ East Carolina, Sat
|Last Week Ranking: #14
The Runners are still playing hard, but are just not cut out to compete at the top of the C-USA just yet. If Jeromie Hill, and Larry Lewis were available, this would be a totally different team with guys who have emerged thrown into that mix as well. They still have an outside, El Paso to Corpus shot at the top four seed, but our road buddies will have to sweep their end of the road trip for that to be a possibility.
Where to start with the Pirates? After an 0-6 start, ECU was able to scrap together a 74-67 win against UAB last Saturday. There is one thing for sure about them, they will jack up the long ball, and to me, those teams are dangerous when they start snapping nets. I just don't see the Pirates being a factor like their non-conference record dictated, live and die by the three is what looks like is happen, they have struggled from deep since the start of conference. I think ECU will run UTSA off the floor when they play, struggled to put them before our UT system little bros(basketball), but we will find out.
||Florida Atlantic Owls
This Week: vs Middle Tennessee, Thur
vs UAB, Sat
|Last Week Ranking: #13
One of the more harder to teams to figure out, as FAU continues its inconsistency. A week removed from a 23 point effort from Marquan Botley, leading to a nice win against Harvard, they split this weekend to put them at 3-4 overall in the C-USA. Tough swing this weekend with Middle Tennessee and UAB, a split and their done, a sweep and it makes them even harder to figure out, I predict they get swept in the end.
Things were on the upside after sweeping East Carolina and FAU, though they were swept this past weekend. Losing to Charlotte is ok, but losing to Marshall will kill your season, and thats how to describe FIU. Seniors Tymell Murphy and Rakeem Buckles are very solid, though they just can't do it all.
||Tulane Green Wave
This Week: vs Charlotte, Fri
vs Marshall, Sun
|Last Week Ranking: #11
Much like FIU, Tulane saw the light with a sweep two weeks ago, to be get swept themselves last weekend. Tulane has three very solid scorers, and after holding both their opponents to under 60 points the week before, they folded and were blown out by Old Dominion and Southern Miss. Ed Conroy has done all he could to save this season with all the defections, though the future could be bright with Jonathon Stark, and if the move to the AAC helps recruiting.
Its been tough to rank 9-16, their all in the same mold, no one really stands out. North Texas has a pretty high RPI despite its record, and their SOS is 104 which is being assisted by Oklahoma, because Texas A&M has lost five straight. If you remember the Gang Green ran the Aggs out of their gym by 20, that win isn't holding to well as we sit here today. While I was very high on North Texas at that point, despite their losing conference record, I still think they are still talented to upset anyone on any night. Best case for North Texas, grab a halftime lead, they are 10-0 when they lead at the half.
After a hot start to conference, reality might be setting in for ODU as a middle of the pack team, but very capable. They were only down five to Middle Tennessee at the half, though the Blue Raiders clamped down and held ODU to only 33 percent shooting and 48 points. Important home stand with UTSA and UTEP coming into town, a sweep is imperative to keep pace.
This Week: vs FIU, Thur
vs FAU, Sat
|Last Week Ranking: #6
Toughest spot to rank this week #6 between UAB and Tulsa. Since Tulsa won they get the sixth spot, though UAB to me still has the talent to make a run. I know Blazer fan, yall are 12-7 against D-1 opponents but scoreboard. They fell flat on offense, and missed their last six shots in the final two minutes to fall at ECU on Saturday. That game is describing this current downfall of their season, no one needs a sweep this weekend more than the Blazers do.
This Tulsa team has interested me all season. I've watched more Tulsa games than any other C-USA team this season, and really think they are tough to beat with their guard play. When they get going from the outside, they are lethal. They have won six out of their last eight, and are only getting better with each time out on the floor. Huge test at LA Tech on Thursday, another measuring stick game that will see if they can beat another top team in the league.
This Week: @ Tulane, Fri
@ Southern Miss, Sun
|Last Week Ranking: #5
Word out of Charlotte is Ben Cherry still hasn't missed. The Tulane trader, buried 6 out 8 three-pointers Saturday, helping Charlotte bounce back, sweeping the Florida schools. Still one of the better teams in the league, they have a chance to gain back some ground with Southern Miss on Sunday. Game of the week alert!
||Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
This Week: @ FAU, Thur
@ FIU, Sat
|Last Week Ranking: #4
The Blue Raiders have responded after losing at home to UTEP a few weeks ago. Middle has won four out of its last five, losing a tough one to Tulsa during that span. It was back to their physical defensive prowess on Saturday, as they stymied ODU for only 48 points. Shawn Jones also picked up C-USA player of the week for back-to-back double-doubles. Watch out for the Raiders, I would want to play them again if I was anyone.
||LA Tech Bulldogs
This Week: vs Tulsa, Thur
vs North Texas, Sat
|Last Week Ranking: #2
Not having Raheem Appleby hurt the Dogs in the Don last Thursday. His ability to drive, and penetrate the lane is very vital to what they like to do. Huge chance to bounce back from last weekends split with three straight at home on the horizon. LA Tech is another team you don't want to have to play again in the tournament. One of the fastest, most athletic teams I've seen live all season.
This Week: vs ECU, Thur
vs ODU, Sat
|Last Week Ranking: #3
The Miners are on a roll. Their highest climb of the season is thanks to another weekend sweep. It was almost not meant to be, though the Miners shut down Rice in the final ten minutes Saturday to pick their sixth straight win. A very winnable road trip is on tap this week, though nothing on the road is ever easy in conference play.
Southern Miss held both its opponents last weekend under 50 points. They have now reeled off five in a row after losing to Tulsa. They should roll Marshall on Friday, though Sunday will not be easy. If Southern Miss goes 2-0 this weekend, they should be in the top 25, if not that will officially validate C-USA as a one big league.
Games To Keep an Eye On
Tulsa @ LA Tech, Thur
Middle Tennesse @ FIU, Sat
Charlotte @ So Miss Sun, CBS Sports Network
Conference RPI: 13
Conference SOS: 13