Time to begin my exercise in projecting the final Conference USA standings. I do this to give you an idea where Marshall might end up in the standings, and where its spot will be in the C-USA standings.
The following assumptions, all subject to change:
— Memphis wins out, Rice loses out.
— Southern Miss gets second place, though it will split the final four games.
— Marshall will win at home, lose on the road. I strongly believe the Herd will ambush Southern Miss on senior night, thus exacting revenge for 102-46.
— I am pegging UCF to go 2-2, losing to Memphis and UAB.
— Not everything will go to form, so I’ll throw in some curve balls. Right now: Tulane winning at ECU, Houston winning at Tulane.
Remember, UCF is ineligible, and will not be listed. The records of the 11 teams will not even out.
The top 5 teams receive a first-round bye. Tulsa plays the first two rounds (or just quarterfinal) at 6 p.m. Central, with the schedule built around that. First-round games on March 13 are 3:30, 7 and 9:30 Eastern; quarterfinals are 1, 3:30, 7, 9:30.
Teams listed by projected seeds and league records:
1. 16-0 — Memphis (now 12-0), So Miss, at UCF, at UTEP, UAB // WWWW
2. 12-4 — So Miss (10-2) at Memphis, ECU, Marshall, UCF // LWLW
3. 10-6 — UTEP (7-5) Houston, at Rice, Memphis, SMU // WWLW
4. 9-7 — Tulsa (6-6) at UCF, Tulane, SMU, at Rice // LWWW
5. 8-8 — Tulane (5-6) at Rice, UAB, at Tulsa, at ECU, Houston // WWLWL
6. 8-8 — ECU (6-6) at SMU, at So Miss, Tulane, Marshall // WLLW
7. 7-9 — Houston (4-8) at UTEP, Marshall, Rice, at Tulane // LWWW
8. 7-9 — Marshall (5-7) UAB, at Houston, So Miss, at ECU // WLWL
9. 6-10 — UAB (4-7) at Marshall, at Tulane, SMU, UCF, at Memphis // LLWWL
10. 4-12 — SMU (3-8) ECU, Rice, at UAB, at Tulsa, UTEP // LWLLL
11. 1-15 — Rice (1-10) All losses
I’m hoping this is off for two reasons: (a) Landing in the 8-9 game is never fun, with No. 1 Memphis awaiting the winner and (b) with Tulsa in the 4-5 quarterfinal, the 8/9/1 section of the bracket would play at 9:30 p.m. EDT both Wednesday and Thursday. Double yuck.
One game can mean the difference between a first-round bye and an 8 seed. That has happened to the Herd once before. …
As always, follow me @dougsmock Saturday night.