Conference USA Tournament: Wenesday Preview/Thread

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Day two features four games, including UTEP and East Carolina, lets see what's going on in the Don on Wednesday.

Game One: 10. North Texas Mean Green (17-15, 6-10, vs 7.Tulane Green Wave (16-15, 8-8)

North Texas got an early look at March Madness Tuesday, squeaking by Rice thanks to a missed chippy by the Owls at the Buzzer.

Jordan Williams had a nice night on the boards with 14 rebounds, adding 11 points, Colton Voss poured in 17 points in the come back win.

The win snapped a two game losing slide, and set up today's matinee with Tulane.

Tulane has been a good story, despite some hard hitting defections, Ed Conroy's group has scrapped out 15 wins, and is looking to play spoiler if they can get to Thursday.

The Wave had a decent Feburary going 5-3, though have lost two straight, while only scoring 47, and 51 in those two losses to FIU, and Southern Miss.

Louis Dabney has been the most improved player in the league this year, averaging 15.8 points per game after averaging only 2 points last season.

Jonathan Stark joined Vince Hunter on the All-Freshman team, if it wasn't for Vince's monster season, Stark would have won Freshman of The Year walking away.

Stark has seen his production slide a little bit since their win at UAB, averaging four points under his 14.2 average in that span, though had a nice 21 point outing against FAU recently.

Jay Hook has to be found on the perimeter if your North Texas, Hook set the single game school record for three pointers on Decemeber 7th when he rained home eight treys against Jackson State.

North Texas escaped Rice despite shooting 33.9 percent, this one could another classic pitting two decently even sided teams.

Game Two: 6. Old Dominion Monarchs (15-16, 9-7) vs 15. Marshall Thundering Herd (10-21, 4-12)

Marshall outlasted pesky FAU in their opening game Tuesday, setting up a second round date with Old Dominion.

Chris Thomas continues his streak of nice games, leading Marshall with 21 points against FAU.

Thomas is averaging 18 points in his last four games, shooting 8/14 from deep in that span as well.

As good as Kareem Canty can be for Marshall, he is only shooting 37 percent on the season, and was held in check by FAU, shooting 5/18 from field, though did have 12 points.

Old Dominion bring its plus-ten win improvement from a year ago, along with some balanced scoring in this matchup.

Aaron Bacote is very underrated, averaging 16.3 points per game, though gets no love despite his stellar play. Old Dominion is an up and coming team with the sophomore Bacote being a possible MVP candidate in the future, and player to worry about outside Monarch Nation.

Keenan Palmore, and Dimitri Batten both average 10 points a game, while Richard Ross provides tremendous versatility, averaging 9.5 points per game, and 7.2 rebounds a game.

I haven't had too many eye tests on Old Dominion, but by scores, they have four games where they have been held to less than 50 points, mind you when it happened three times in conference play against Tulsa, UTEP and Middle Tennessee.

Marshall and ODU met back on Feburary 27th with ODU winning 70-63, Marshall should have momemntum from their opening win, but will ODU's respectable depth be the difference against the unproven Herd?

Game Three: 12. East Carolina Pirates (17-15, 5-11) vs 5. UTEP Miners (22-9, 12-4)

In the most anticipated game of the day/night, well at least for us, East Carolina rode the shooting hand of Akeem Richmond against UTSA to get to their date with the El Paso Miners.

Richmond broke a C-USA record with 11 three-pointers, including a 6/8 onslaught in the second half that brought the Pirates back from a 18-point deficit, charging a 30-6 Pirate run in the second half.

Jeff Lebo admitted it after the game that the Pirates tend to ride Richmond, with the way UTEP plays defense, it is going to be tough to duplicate that tremendous performance from long range with the different switches of schemes Tim Floyd likes to use.

Once Julian Washburn locked up Richmond he was kept quiet to a point, Richmond did manage 20 points, but the rest of the starters were just 6/24 in UTEP's 58-47 win in Greenville.

He did end up shooting 6/10 in the game from behind the three-point line, and besides the FAU game, no one has really gone off on the Miners from deep other than Richmond.

For UTEP, taking of the ball to buy some more possession is key in this one, ECU can score but only if the Miners let them by turning it over. Expect the Miners to see nothing but zone, UTEP will have to utilize its superior size to overpower the smaller Pirates.

UTEP dominated the glass in the first meeting 42-17, bodes well if ECU clanks their high number of attempts from three.

Although the Miners had slow starts to both halves in that game, something Akeem Richmond also had a hand in the first half.

Simple but tough task for the Miners just as they did before this year to a certain point, you can't stop, but slowing down Richmond can certainly help beat ECU.

Determined seniors are tough this time of year, Miners will have to give it all they got on defense like always.

For what its worth, UTEP is 8-2 all time in conference tournament games in the Don, C-USA hosts are 39-9 overall in 18-years of C-USA life.

Game Four: 9. Charlotte 49ers (16-13, 7-9) vs 8. UAB Blazers (18-12, 7-9)

What a great 8,9 match up set for 8:30 PM.

Charlotte and Pierria Henry look to knock off UAB, who has lost two straight, after winning three in a row.

Pierria Henry is one of a few players in the nation and the only one in Conference USA that averages double figures points, and at least five rebounds, and five assists per game.

Henry is a known stat stuffer, and is very effective on offense when he is aggressive in trying to get to the rim.

Charlotte as a team is third overall in C-USA in three-point shooting percentage, that in part can be attributed to Tulane defector Ben Cherry who has Charlotte shooting 35.2 percent, compared to 25.4 percent last season.

Willie Clayton is 32nd in the nation in double-doubles, scoring 14 and 15 points in his last two games, grabbing 19 rebounds combined in those two.

Shawn Lester is another capable impact player for the 49ers though is only 10/42 from the field in his last five games, including 0/5 in the regular season finale win against Marshall.

UAB's bread and butter is rebounding.

They are second in the nation in rebounding, and have totaled 40 rebounds in 23 games, and 50 boards in nine games.

Its an almost rebound by committee effort for UAB.

Rod Rucker, C.J. Washington, Robert Williams, and Fahro Alihodzic all rank in the top-20 in the conference in rebounds. Charlotte will need a solid effort from Mike Thorne, and Clayton to keep UAB off the boards.

Chad Frazier has been good as the Blazers hoped, and knew he would be when they signed the former JUCO star.

Frazier has became one of the leagues top players in his first season at UAB, averaging 17.7 points per game, and earning first team all-conference honors.

The last time these two hooked up, Rucker forced a Pierria Henry turnover with time running out, helping UAB to a 64-62 drama filled win on February 22nd.

UAB leads the all-time series 25-16, the Blazers have won four of the last five meetings with Charlotte.

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