Is it March yet?
Exactly a month from now we will all gather in the Haskins Center as the conference tournament will be underway, and the fun will really begin.
Until then there are still four weeks of play left in the regular season.
The clear leaders have loudly identified themselves. Southern Miss, UTEP, and LA Tech will all hold down the top three spots, the fourth is up for grabs for 4-6 different teams.
LA Tech has played more D-1 opponents that anyone in the conference, which is why they have the second highest RPI in the league. 6-8 weeks cant come any sooner for the return of Raheem Appleby.
Southern Miss struggled in the first halves against Marshall, and Charlotte, though further justified their top ranking with a solid second half finish against a tough Charlotte team.
Neil Watson is one the best defensive guards in the country, his hands are stupid quick, and he can give fits to the best of them, just like Pierria Henry found out.
UTEP deserves a good look at number one, though the Miners have six losses against D-1 opponents compared to Southern Miss' 19-3 mark against D-1 teams. The Golden Eagles are also 11-0 at home on the season.
Febuary 22nd that debate will be settled on the hardwood.
UAB has officially fell out of the contender label.
After winning two solid games against Tulsa and Old Dominion, the Blazers have lost two straight including coming up empty in their Florida swing last weekend.
Is it safe to say Tulane might make a run?
The Green Wave used a pair of slim margin victories to move up to the 7th spot. Jay Hook knocked down a game winning trey to put away Marshall, that is now four wins out of their last six.
Tulane's conference losses are all respectable, So Miss, LA Tech, ODU, Tulsa, though if they are for real, they will need to sweep their Middle Tennessee, UAB swing this coming weekend.
Jonathan Stark is making a very strong case for freshman of the year with 20 double digit scoring games this season, he will need the continued contributions from Hook and Louis Dabney if this Tulane team plans on making a run.
Game of the week is Saturday night when Middle Tennessee visits Southern Miss. The Blue Raiders have quietly won five straight, I'm pretty confident in putting out an upset alert in this one.
The physical nature of the Blue Raiders could be the difference against the smaller, quicker Golden Eagles. Southern Miss has some mass to make up for the height, though Shawn Jones has been on a tear, just don't know who can hold him from the Golden Eagles standpoint.
Its always nice to play Southern Miss at home, hope there is a strong crowd in Murfreesboro, a Blue Raider win, and the madness will officially start in February, at least in the C-USA.
Here are this week's rankings, and a mid-season look at some possible candidates for individual awards at the end of the season.
Games to keep an eye on this week:
Tulane at Middle Tennessee, Thur
Southern Miss at Middle Tennessee, Sat
Old Dominion at Tulsa, Sat
|16.||Marshall Thundering Herd||(8-17, 2-8)||Last Week Ranking: #15|
|RPI: 279||SOS: 168|
|15.||Rice Owls||(7-16, 2-8)||Last Week Ranking: #16|
|RPI: 294||SOS: 204|
|14.||UTSA Roadrunners||(7-15, 3-6)||Last Week Ranking: #14|
|RPI: 300||SOS: 219|
|13.||North Texas Mean Green||(11-12, 2-7)||Last Week: #9|
|RPI: 184||SOS: 125|
|12.||East Carolina Pirates||(13-11, 2-7)||Last Week Ranking: #13|
|RPI: 201||SOS: 175|
|11.||Florida Atlantic Owls||(9-15, 4-5)||Last Week Ranking: #12|
|RPI: 242||SOS: 133|
|10.||Florida International Golden Panthers||(12-12, 4-5)||Last Week Ranking: #11|
|RPI: 218||SOS: 230|
|9.||Old Dominion Monarchs||(11-13, 5-4)||Last Week Ranking: #8|
|RPI: 174||SOS: 124|
|8.||UAB Blazers||(14-9, 3-6)||Last Week Ranking: #7|
|RPI: 173||SOS: 202|
|7.||Tulane Green Wave||(13-11, 5-4)||Last Week Ranking: #10|
|RPI: 216||SOS: 231|
|6.||Charlotte 49ers||(14-9, 5-5)||Last Week Ranking: #5|
|RPI: 110||SOS: 151
|5.||Tulsa Golden Hurricane||(11-12, 6-3)||Last Week Ranking: #6|
|RPI: 128||SOS: 151|
|4.||Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||(17-7, 7-2)||Last Week Ranking: #4|
|RPI: 89||SOS: 136|
|3.||LA Tech Bulldogs||(20-5, 8-2)||Last Week Ranking: #3|
|RPI: 69||SOS: 207|
|2.||UTEP Miners||(18-6, 8-1)||Last Week Ranking: #2|
|RPI: 76||SOS: 122|
|1.||Southern Miss. Golden Eagles||(21-3, 8-1)||Last Week Ranking: #1|