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Conference USA Basketball Power Rankings

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Beginning this week the C-USA Power Rankings will be put together in a different way. To ensure a fair ranking system, we are getting input from every contributor at MinerRush in order to put the list together. A points system was put in place and will be used to rank each C-USA team from here on out.

The rankings will now come out Mondays, and you'll be able to see the points and first place votes that each team received [points - first place votes]. That said, here are the rankings for the week of January 21st, 2013.

12. [5 - 0] Rice Owls (4-13, 0-3) RPI: 327, SOS: 249, Last: (W) vs. New Orleans, Up Next: @ UCF

No surprise here. Despite picking up their first win in a month, the Owls still occupy the bottom spot in C-USA. The team has shown improvement, but hasn't had a legitimate opportunity to win a conference game yet. Things won't be getting any easier either as this week they'll travel to UCF and Tulane.

11. [12 - 0] UAB Blazers (8-10, 0-3) RPI: 162, SOS: 74, Last: (L) @ Southern Miss, Up Next: vs. ECU

The Blazers have had a rough start to the conference season, dropping games at UCF, against Memphis, and at Southern Miss by an average of about 16 points a game. That would say to one that they are not one of the elite teams in C-USA, but they are still talented enough to beat just about anyone in the conference. This week they'll be at home against ECU, then at Houston.

10. [13 - 0] SMU Mustangs (11-9, 1-4) RPI: 177, SOS: 197, Last: (L) @ UTEP, Up Next: @ UCF

The Mustangs continue to slide, now losing five of their last six, and eight of the last eleven. They gave Southern Miss all they could handle in Dallas, but then never really had a shot at the win on the road against UTEP. This team should continue to get better, in time, under Larry Brown, but right now they just aren't getting it down. Next, they'll be at UCF.

9. [21 - 0] Houston Cougars (12-5, 1-3) RPI: 209, SOS: 342, Last: (L) vs. UCF, Up Next: vs. Tulsa

The Cougars had an opportunity to pick up a big win in conference play over the weekend, but wound losing a late lead in regulation against UCF before falling in overtime. Other than the loss at Southern Miss, the Cougars have been competitive in conference play. The wins just haven't come yet. This week they'll have a chance to get things going with Tulsa and UAB at home.

8. [24 - 0] Tulane Green Wave (13-5, 1-2) RPI: 150, SOS: 288, Last: (W) vs. Tulsa, Up Next: @ Memphis

The Green Wave got back on the winning tack on Saturday by knocking off Tulsa to get their first win in C-USA play. The losses against UTEP and SMU hurt, but they are certainly still capable of making a run in conference. The going now gets tough though as they'll see Memphis and UCF in two of their next three.

PaydirtRenzo says:

"I'm rooting for the Wave. I like their players. We'll see how their Fab Four holds up against Memphis and Rice this week though."

7. [29 - 0] Tulsa Golden Hurricane (11-8, 3-2) RPI: 127, SOS: 140, Last: (L) @ Tulane, Up Next: @ Houston

The Golden Hurricane fell by 3 at Tulane on Saturday, but also picked up a big win over UTEP on Wednesday. While this team certainly isn't expected to continue to keep pace with the top tier teams in C-USA, they're hanging in so far. Up next, they're at Houston, and then home against Southern Miss.

6. [35 - 0] East Carolina Pirates (11-6, 2-2) RPI: 117, SOS: 105, Last (L) @ Marshall, Up Next: @ UAB

The Pirates were handled over the weekend against a Marshall team that seems to be playing extremely well at home. And while they're 2-2 in league play, at this point they're still very much in the race for C-USA. They just can't afford to give away any must win games . Up next, they've got UTEP and Memphis at home.

5. [39 - 0] Marshall Thundering Herd (9-9, 2-1) RPI: 214, SOS: 160, Last; (W) vs. Tulsa, Up Next: @ Southern Miss

The Thundering Herd are playing very inconsistent basketball right now, but are still much better than they were only weeks ago. Since the return of DeAndre Kane the Herd have played two road (blowout losses), and two home games (blowout wins). They'll have to win on the road to have any shot winning the conference, but this team is definitely capable of doing so. Up next, they're at Southern Miss.

PaydirtRenzo says:

"The Herd hasn't won a true road game all year, and is about to face Southern Miss and Memphis on the road. We'll find out a lot about their fight this week."

4. [47 - 0] UTEP Miners (10-7, 3-1) RPI: 72, SOS: 28, Last: (W) vs. SMU, Up Next: @ ECU

The Miners have established themselves as one of the top teams in this conference. However, their inconsistency on the road could haunt them in their chase for a conference title. Last week, they fell at Tulsa in an ugly 45-42 affair, before beating SMU at home on Saturday. The Miners have a ton of talent and a schedule that sets up nicely for them down the stretch, but they've got to find more consistency throughout. Up next, they're at ECU.

3. [48 - 0] Central Florida Knights (12-5, 2-1) RPI: 103, SOS: 128, Last: (W) @ Houston, Up Next: vs. Rice

Despite losing to ECU in overtime nearly 10 days ago, the Knights have certainly established themselves as one of the top teams in Conference USA. They'll need to find more consistency on the road, as they nearly fell at Houston on Saturday, but if they do they'll be one of the contenders down the stretch. Up next, they've got Rice and SMU at home.

2. [56 - 1] Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (15-4, 4-0) RPI: 40, SOS: 130, Last: (W) vs. UAB, Up Next: vs. Marshall

Although the Golden Eagles still don't have a signature win on the season, their computer numbers continue to rise, and for the most part they are dominating opponents in the early going of conference play. Last week they won at SMU by 4, and then picked apart UAB at home. If they continue to play this well, they could very well be the C-USA champs. Up next, they've got Marshall.

PaydirtRenzo says:

"Clearly among the conference's best. They're veterans in a relatively young C-USA. They started off slow against UAB and then dominated."

1. [59 - 4] Memphis Tigers (14-3, 3-0) RPI: 48, SOS: 96, Last: (W) vs. Harvard, Up Next: vs. Tulane

It seems as though the Tigers will remain the top team in conference until they either have a misstep, or someone makes a big enough statement to unseat them. They have now won 12 of their last 13, with the only loss coming against #5 Louisville. Saturday they handled Harvard fairly easily, and each of their three C-USA wins have come by double digit margins. Right now, this is the team to beat in Conference USA. Up next, they've got home games against Tulane and Marshall.

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