In The Dig: The Dig Returns with some links from across the C-USA landscape as there are several key C-USA clashes tonight. The headliners are Tulsa at UTEP and Marshall at UCF in the "Donnie Jones Bowl." Memphis has a huge non-conference game against Tennessee. I hate to admit it, but I want Memphis to win one for the good, ole' C-USA.
The Unknown: Coach Tim Floyd is anxious to start navigating the treacherous C-USA basketball league waters.
UTEP Head Coach Tim Floyd said, "I have been watching our team and who we are playing, I don't have a comparison, cause I haven't been through the league. I don't know how the coaches coach, or how the players play. But we're going to start learning."
Knight Time: Bill Knight has a nice Tulsa preview up loaded with quotes from CTF on Justin Hurtt & his new cast. Tulsa isn't as loaded as they were last season with Jerome Jordan and Ben Uzoh, but their offense actually seems more efficient now that its centered around Justin Hurtt. And, here's MI's preview.
Tulsa lost two talented players in 7-footer Jerome Jordan and Ben Uzoh. But coach Doug Wojcik has reloaded quite nicely. "They have one of the better perimeter players and one of the better big guys in the league," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "They are very efficient offensively and they have played one of the more challenging non-conference schedules. They also have an outstanding young freshman, Jordan Clarkson, who is injured, but is day-to-day. We may see him here."
No At Large in Tulsa: Tulsa's Doug Wojcik has conceded that TU cannot earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after some early season stumbles.
"I've said for a few weeks that the one thing that is lost is being an at-large team (for the NCAA Tournament)," Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. "We scheduled to be an at-large team, and we've lost that to some degree. But everything else is intact."
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/TU/article.aspx?subjectid=94&articleid=20110105_94_B1_CUTLIN814748
KTSM With Some Numbers: UTEP has won 17 of their last 19 C-USA games. Pretty good stuff.
Surviving the BearKat Attack: Here are Tim Floyd's post SHSU thoughts (Thanks to Duke Keith at That Will Do).
No More Holiday: UTEP has unfortunately made the decision to stop cancelling classes to honor Cesar Chavez Day. I'd bet that Mr. Chavez would have probably preferred that students honor him by going to class.
The Year in Review: El Paso Inc.'s Ray Sanchez has a nice recap of the 2010 year in El Paso Athletics.
UTEP won the Conference USA championship in basketball. The school hired Tim Floyd as basketball coach. The Miners were invited to a bowl game. The Hyundai Sun Bowl got Notre Dame. J.P. Hayes and Steve Haskins qualified for the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, respectively.
UCF (13-0, No. 19): BUY It's amazing to me that a mid-major team could be undefeated, ranked and have Michael Jordan's son on the roster -- yet very few people (outside of geeks like us) are talking about them. The ranking might not get much higher, but there's plenty of upside in the buzz department. The Knights have at least as many signature wins (over Florida and Miami) as San Diego State. They go a legit 10 deep, they're ranked in the top five nationally in both offensive and defensive field-goal percentage, and thanks largely to 7-foot senior center Tom Herzog, a transfer from Michigan State, they're ranked third in the nation in blocks.
The Tulsa World's Eric Bailey takes a look at the 2010 Tulsa year in athletics.
Marshall and UCF open up C-USA play tonight. Remember that UCF coach Donnie Jones coached at Marshall last year.
Tennessee Battle: Don't forget to tune in on ESPN tonight for Memphis and Tennessee. Here's the Commercial Appeal's preview, which focuses on Chris Crawford who spurned a Tennessee offer on signing day.