Another weekend in the books, and the picture is becoming just a little bit more clear. Just a little bit.
UTEP continues its positive surge ahead, and jumps up to number three this week, the highest they have been all season.
Questions are starting to come about for Charlotte, and UAB, teams who started the season strong, and lived at the top for most of this season, and now seem to find themselves in a cross road point of their seasons.
Charlotte has now lost to bottom dwellers UTSA, and Rice. A sweep of the Florida schools shows they still are a contender going forward, a split adds more questions to a team who has not done well against lesser opponents.
Old Dominion held its own last weekend to a point. Yes they lost by 15 to So Miss, but were able to rebound, and split the weekend with a win against Tulane, who may not be strong, but is still tough to beat with the talented Jonathan Stark.
This Thursday night offers up a couple of some huge games, starting with ODU and UAB in a pivotal game for both squads. That will decide the sixth spot, as it was tough to place those two this week. That game will also give the winner momentum to finish the week strong on Saturday, plus added confidence, and important wins going forward.
No team has fallen further off the map since late December like East Carolina has. Things looked real promising after hanging in with NC State, but that loss began a streak of eight losses in nine games, something that is looking more impossible for them to snap out of. Things don't get any easier as the Pirates travel the Middle Tennessee, UAB swing this week.
As we are chugging a long the conference slate, it appears two for sure, and a possible third maybe separating themselves from the rest of the pack.
Of course Southern Miss is just cruising along. Since the loss against Tulsa, the Golden Eagles have won four straight, and with their next three coming at home, and LA Tech already in the win column, it is Southern Miss's conference to lose at this point.
This week's game of the week features UTEP and LA Tech Thursday night. The Techsters surely do miss Raheem Appleby, though both Alex Hamilton, and Kenneth Smith are continuing to raise their play to new levels, making LA Tech the clear cut number two.
UTEP will certainly test the Bulldogs Thursday, as the Miners are making a serious case they belong in the top three with the defense, and solid team basketball they have been playing with. LA Tech is very talented, its going to take everyone's best effort to knock them off the rest of the way.
There has been plenty movement in the number 3-8 spots since the open of conference play, parity in that region will keep those spots shuffling throughout the next couple of weeks.
To sum it all up, so far its been So Miss, and LA Tech as the top dogs, with UTEP, Middle Tennessee, UAB, Charlotte, all on the second TIER looking up. If Old Dominion sweeps this weekend, they would replace either UAB or Middle, and join that conversation.
Still so much to be played for, but some teams are in must win situations now if they want to finish in the beloved top four slots come tourney time.
Another huge weekend on tap that will either further justify teams rankings, or keep adding to the building questions with every game played.
Teams Trending Up
|16.||Marshall Thundering Herd||(7-14, 1-5)||Last Week Ranking: #16|
|RPI: 290||SOS: 198|
|15.||Rice Owls||(6-13, 1-5)||Last Week Ranking: #15|
|RPI: 280||SOS: 171|
|14.||UTSA Roadrunners||(6-12, 2-3)||Last Week Ranking: #13|
|RPI: 302||SOS: 230|
|13.||FAU Owls||(7-13. 2-3)||Last Week Ranking: #14|
|RPI: 254||SOS: 142|
|12.||East Carolina Pirates||(11-9, 0-5)||Last Week: #9|
|RPI: 226||SOS: 231|
|11.||Tulane Green Wave||(11-10, 3-3)||Last Week Ranking: #12|
|RPI: 227||SOS: 249|
|10.||North Texas Mean Green||(11-9, 2-4)||This Week Ranking: #10|
|RPI: 156||SOS: 101|
|9.||Fla. International Golden Panthers||(11-9, 3-2)||Last Week Ranking: #11|
|RPI: 215||SOS: 277|
|8.||Tulsa Golden Hurricane||(9-11, 4-2)||Last Week Ranking: #7|
|RPI: 124||SOS: 46|
|7.||Old Dominion Monarchs||(10-10, 4-1)||Last Week Ranking: #8|
|RPI: 169||SOS: 144|
|6.||UAB Blazers||(13-6, 2-3)||Last Week Ranking: #6|
|RPI: 132||SOS: 195|
|5.||Charlotte 49ers||(12-7, 3-3)||Last Week Ranking: #3|
|RPI: 112||SOS: 166|
|4.||Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||(13-7, 3-2)||Last Week Ranking: #5|
|RPI: 107||SOS: 138|
|3||UTEP Miners||(14-6, 4-1)||Last Week Ranking: #4|
|RPI: 111||SOS: 139|
|2.||LA Tech Bulldogs||(17-4, 5-1)||Last Week Ranking: #2|
|RPI: 74||SOS: 220|
|1.||Southern Miss Golden Eagles||(18-3, 5-1)||Last Week Ranking: #1|