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What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:52 pm
 
Conference USA employs a one-bye system for the leagues top four teams, meaning No. 1 Memphis, No. 2 Southern Miss, No. 3 Tulsa and No. 4 Central Florida will not play until Thursday.

Memphis is clearly the league favorite -- again. The 23-8, 13-3 Tigers have dominated this conference ever since Marquette, DePaul, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida abandoned their brethren for the Big East seven years ago. The Tigers are also the league's only team that's safely in the field even with one loss. Will Barton is not only the league's Player of the Year, he should be a Second Team All-America selection. So, yeah, Memphis is in good shape again and Josh Pastner's been getting a lot of love for the job he's done. The Tigers are feeling good and looking better.

Southern Miss? Different story. When you look at the Golden Eagles' profile, it doesn't stack up as well as it did two weeks ago. Winning at least one game is mandatory, and two would likely get USM into the NCAAs, should it lose in the C-USA final. Tulsa and Central Florida can both be spoilers here. Last season, Memphis played with urgency, knowing if it didn't win the league title, a bid was shaky. This year, that's not the case, and so will we see C-USA be a two- or even a three-bid league? If we had a scenario where Central Florida beat Southern Miss in Saturday's championship game, that would likely be the case. You've heard a lot about bid thieves coming from other brackets, but C-USA, to me, seems like the one with the greatest chance of having that happen.

The Tigers are again a No. 1 seed. If they won the league tournament, a five seed would be likely. (Getty Images)

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Rice (7) vs. East Carolina (10): Arsalan Kazemi is maybe the best player in the league who doesn't wear a Memphis uniform. Rice needs him to have a huge tournament if it can reach the semis. Kazemi's only a junior, but he's also got NBA potential. Will this be his last game? East Carolina is in its second year under former Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. The team is almost identical to the one it was last season.

Marshall (6) vs. SMU (11): Once considered a fringe bubble team (we're talking like, on Jan. 15 that this was the case) Marshall's season has been one big swing to the next. Every time the team lose one game, another follows -- it never followed up an isolated loss with a win all year long. That trend will end now, unless Marshall wins the C-USA tournament. Possible, by the way, but just a large task since the Thundering Herd doesn't force a lot of turnovers and is weak in the paint. SMU shouldn't prove to be too tough, though.

UTEP (8) vs. Houston (9): It's two 7-9 teams on Memphis' side of the bracket. One of these lambs will be done by Thursday. Tim Floyd's UTEP team enters the tournament stumbling, losers of three straight. For Houston, it's just the opposite: three straight Ws leading up to this one. The teams split the season series. Houston's defense has issues. UTEP has the advantage, but barely.

UAB (5) vs. Tulane (12):  The only reason UAB's been relevant this season is because it had a player who couldn't play thanks to a hazy grudge held by Phil Martelli. Who knows what Todd O'Brien would've brought to the Blazers, but they've managed to tread water in the league without him. Tulane's a team that's small around the rim. The Blazers aren't. UAB should cruise to this one.

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:56 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

So Marshall, the 8th best rebounding team in the COUNTRY, is "weak in the paint?" Their problem is they can't shoot!



Since: Jun 16, 2010
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:11 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

If Memphis wins the title, they will be seeded between 10-12. They played plenty of quality opponents, but did not get a win. Will they pull an upset in the NCAA tournament? It could happen.




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:33 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

Tigers have dominated this conference ever since Marquette, DePaul, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida abandoned their brethren for the Big East seven years ago.
Does Matt know this is the first regular season title we've had since Mack, Kemp and Tyreke were playing? Oh, and the thing about us losing to Houston in the first game of the conference tournament a year after they left? Guess not.

The Tigers are again a No. 1 seed. If they won the league tournament, a five seed would be likely.
A five-seed would be about as likely as a sixteen-seed, Matt. Neither is going to happen. This ain't Bleacher Report, Matt. Try to do a little research before you start typing next time, OK?



Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: March 7, 2012 12:31 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

I think Antonio will play a little and I see Thomas getting a few minutes to get his legs back.



Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2012 7:12 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

We all know anything can happen in a Tournament game, but the Tigers are playing with passion and heart.  Having Adonis back is a big boost.  Witherspoon playing like the old "Spoon" and the pressure defense of all the players makes it difficult for any CUSA team to beat them.  I don't believe they will be over confident against any team and will come ready to play.  Like others, I would like to see them cream UTEP to wipe out that horrible home game, but I will take wins from any team we play.  Any word on Antonio?  Sure would like to see him available for action.



Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:15 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

Bring on UTEP!  We played horrible and I want another shot at them.  Memphis should beat them by 30!  Tigers are rollin!



Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2012 10:58 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

I  know they have been successful in the Forum but know this, Memphis has taken them lightly so get ready for a blowout this time around. You saw what Memphis did to UCF after they beat them in Orlando. Memphis beats UTEP 85-68 and that's being kind.




Since: Feb 15, 2010
Posted on: March 6, 2012 10:24 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

Not sure I would refer to UTEP as a "lamb".  Those "lambs" beat Memphis in Fedex Forum the last two times they met there.



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