If Conference USA is going to have more than one representative in the NCAA tournament, chances are one of the members will have to knock off No. 1 seed Memphis in the conference's upcoming tournament.
This isn't something that the members of Conference USA have had a lot of success with. The Tigers have won six of the past seven tournaments, and they are undefeated in conference play this season.
The tournament will look a little different this year as, per the New York Times, Central Florida is not eligible for postseason play.
As a result, there is one fewer first-round game and four teams receive a bye in the first round.
When: March 13-16
Where: BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
TV: CBS Sports Network (March 14-15, coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on March 14, and at 4 p.m. ET on March 15) CBS (March 16 coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. ET)
Full Schedule—via Conference USA's official website
(All times Eastern)
|First round – Wednesday, March 13|
|4:30 p.m.||No. 7 UAB vs. No. 10 SMU (Game 1)|
|7 p.m.||No. 6 Houston vs. No. 11 Rice (Game 2)|
|9:30 p.m.||No. 8 Marshall vs. No. 9 Tulane (Game 3)|
|Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 14|
|1 p.m.||No. 2 Southern Miss vs. Game 1 winner (Game 4) |
|3:30 p.m.||No. 3 UTEP vs. Game 2 winner (Game 5) |
|7 p.m.||No. 1 Memphis vs. Game 3 winner (Game 6) |
|9:30 p.m.||No. 4 East Carolina vs. No. 5 Tulsa (Game 7)|
|Semifinals – Friday, March 15|
|4 p.m.||Semifinal No. 1|
|6:30 p.m.||Semifinal No. 2|
|Championship – Saturday, March 16|
|11:30 a.m.||Championship Game|
Closer Look at Top Teams
No. 1: Memphis
The Tigers may be No. 25 in the nation, but they are the clear No. 1 team in this conference, and they enter the postseason on fire.
The Tigers have lost just once since a nine-point defeat at the hands of No. 8 Louisville on Dec. 15. The Tigers are 27-4 on the season.
This is a fast-paced team that knows how to share the ball. Memphis is sixth in the nation in assists.
Junior guard Joe Jackson leads the way for the Tigers, as he leads his team in both assists (4.9) and points (13.8) per game.
However, this is a balanced team that features seven players averaging at least 7.4 points per game.
No. 2: Southern Miss
The Golden Eagles have turned in a solid season. They are 23-8 on the season and 12-4 in conference play.
However, they certainly aren't rolling in on the kind of hot streak that Memphis is. Southern Miss has lost four of its past nine games.
The Golden Eagles prefer to keep a slightly slower pace than Memphis, and they check in as the nation's 41st team in terms of scoring.
They do move the ball well (33rd in the nation in assists), and they create good shots, as they are 12th in shooting percentage.
Senior guard Dwayne Davis is the Golden Eagles' main threat. His 15.9 points per game average is over five more than anyone else on the team.
No. 3: UTEP
While Southern Miss brings a slightly slower pace than Memphis, UTEP brings a drastically slower one.
The Miners are 274th in the nation in scoring.
They have used this deliberate attack to success. The Miners are 17-13 on the season and 10-6 in conference.
However, they haven't been playing their best as of late, either. The Miners have lost five of their past nine games, but they did lose by just two to Memphis on March 5.
So while it would be a huge upset if this team ran to the title, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities.
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