Things have gone a bit haywire over the last couple weeks in Conference USA. UTEP knocked off both Memphis and Southern Miss in consecutive games, and the Golden Eagles also lost to Houston just before falling to the Miners. All that has thrown a wrench into the system, but the top teams still remain. That said, here's this week's Conference USA Basketball Power Rankings look like.
1. Memphis Tigers (22-8, 12-3) RPI: 21, SOS: 20, Last: (W) vs. UCF, Up Next: @ Tulsa
The Tigers got an early start to the week, trouncing the UCF Knights 89-55 at the FedEx forum. The win gives the Tigers a foot up in the C-USA race, and at least a share of the regular season title. A win Saturday over Tulsa gives Memphis the no. 1 seed in the C-USA tourney, and the outright crown. Expect to see Memphis in the field of 68.
2. Southern Miss Golden Eagles (21-6, 10-4) RPI: 13, SOS: 50, Last: (W) vs. Rice, Up Next: vs. SMU
The Golden Eagles hit a major road bump over the last 10 days, falling to both Houston and UTEP on the road. Those losses allowed Memphis to slide into the top spot in conference. While the Golden Eagles will likely end the season no. 2 in C-USA, they should still find in the NCAA tourney.
3. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (17-11, 10-4) RPI: 98, SOS: 110, Last: (W) @ Tulane, Up Next: @ UAB
The Golden Hurricane got off to a slow start this year, but at this point they're still in the hunt for the C-USA title. Wins both tonight and on Saturday will give the Hurricane a share, and depending what happens elsewhere, possibly even the no. 1 seed in the C-USA tourney. Tulsa is out of reach for an at large bid, but they're play could potentially earn them the auto bid.
4. UCF Knights (18-9, 9-6) RPI: 66, SOS: 105, Last: (L) @ Memphis, Up Next: vs. UAB
What a difference a couple of days make. Saturday the Knights ran away from UTEP, and then Tuesday they got run over by the dump truck that is Memphis. With one game to play, they are out of at large hopes for the NCAA tourney but a win to end the season, and one or two in the C-USA tourney should put the Knights into the NIT.
5. Marshall Thundering Herd (16-11, 8-6) RPI: 60, SOS: 18, Last: (L) vs. Memphis, Up Next: @ ECU
It's gotta be disappointing for Herd fans to see their team where they are, but the inconsistency has amounted to an 8-6 conference record, and barring a C-USA tourney run, another missed opportunity at the NCAA tourney. While the NIT is still a possibility, its gonna take some in the last few games here to get the Herd to that point.
6. UTEP Miners (14-14, 7-7) RPI: 133, SOS: 66, Last: (L) @ UCF, Up Next: vs. Rice
The 2nd half of the UCF game was a huge letdown, but considering the Miners knocked off Tulsa, Memphis, and Southern Miss in a 2 week period, they more than deserve to be in this spot. Postseason play is likely out of the question for the Miners, but all fans would really like to see a positive end to the season.
7. UAB Blazers (13-14, 8-6) RPI: 110, SOS: 45, Last: (W) @ ECU, Up Next: vs. Tulsa
The Blazers certainly turned their season around, bringing their record to 13-14 after starting 2-7. While they have no true chances at making any postseason tournaments, they have shown throughout the C-USA season that they are more than capable of competing against anyone in conference. Lookout for them in the C-USA tourney.
8. Rice Owls (13-13, 7-7) RPI: 163, SOS: 145, Last: (L) @ Southern Miss, Up Next: @ UTEP
The Owls have had quite the disappointing year, hovering right at .500, and sitting out of reach of any postseason tournaments. I'm sure Owl fans pictured this year to go a little bit differently, but short of winning the C-USA tournament, this season will not have lived up to expectations.
9. Houston Cougars (12-14, 5-9) RPI: 214, SOS: 169, Last: (W) vs. SMU, Up Next: vs. Tulane
The Cougars spent most of the C-USA season getting blown out of games, but wins in 2 of the last 3, including one over Southern Miss, has at least brought Houston out of the cellar. They'll end the season with a couple winnable games against Tulane and Rice, but I wouldn't expect them to make too much noise in the C-USA tourney.
10. Tulane Green Wave (13-13, 3-11) RPI: 201, SOS: 239, Last: (L) vs. Tulsa, Up Next: @ Houston
The Green Wave did the best they could minus star Kendall Timmons, but the the truth is that freshman sensation Ricky Tarrant just couldn't carry them. They've managed only 3 wins in conference, and while they could make it to 5, I wouldn't expect much more success beyond that.
11. East Carolina Pirates (8-15, 3-11) RPI: 193, SOS: 75, Last: (L) vs. UAB, Up Next: vs. Marshall
It turned out the Pirates weak schedule didn't help anything at all. They have now lost 5 in a row, and with games to come against Marshall and Tulane, that number could grow. Needless to say, this team won't be partaking in any postseason play.
12. SMU Mustangs (10-17, 3-11) RPI: 220, SOS: 149, Last: (L) @ Houston, Up Next: @ Southern Miss
The Mustangs have just completely fallen off over the last month or so, dropping 9 of their last 11 contests. They'll face Southern Miss and UTEP to end the season, and will then head into the C-USA tourney as one of the bottom 3 seeds. I'm sure Mustang fans are just ready for the nightmare to end.