After each weekend, I’ll rank the C-USA teams as I see them. By late February, those rankings will somewhat resemble the standings, so I will refocus on projected tournament pairings and NIT prospects. (I am going to assume the league gets one NCAA bid.)
Wednesday night, Marshall lost 112-106 to Pitt after falling behind 29, Western Kentucky downed RPI 259 Austin Peay 97-92 and Florida Atlantic lost to RPI 92 Florida Gulf Coast 75-62. I won’t adjust the rankings I put forth in my Monday column.
Those, rankings, with weekend schedule (RPI as of Thursday midday Eastern):
- Middle Tennessee (10-3, 6 RPI) home vs UAB (4 p.m. Sunday, Campus Insiders)
- Alabama-Birmingham (7-6, 194) at UAB (Sunday, see above)
- Marshall (7-6, 117) at FIU, FAU (Sat-Mon)
- Rice (130-3, 156) at ODU, Charlotte (Sat-Mon; Monday game 7 p.m. on ESPN3)
- Louisiana Tech (8-5, 258) at Southern Miss (Sun)
- Old Dominion (7-4, 91) home vs. Old Dominion (Thursday); vs. Rice, North Texas (Sat-Mon)
- Western Kentucky (6-7, 245) at FAU, FIU (Sat-Mon)
- Charlotte (6-5, 186) home vs North Texas, Rice (Sat-Mon; Monday game 7 p.m. on ESPN3)
- Florida Atlantic (4-7, 241) home vs WKU, Marshall (Sat-Mon)
- Texas-El Paso (2-9, 346) at New Mexico State (Friday); at UTSA (Sunday)
- Florida International (4-9, 324) home vs. Marshall, WKU (Sat-Mon)
- North Texas (6-6, 226) at Charlotte, ODU (Sat-Mon)
- Texas-San Antonio (4-8, 340) home vs. East Central (Thursday); home vs. UTEP (Sunday)
- Southern Mississippi (3-9, 348) home vs La Tech (Sun)
This will be re-ranked after the weekend’s games, with some overreacting moves (only half-joking).
Top scorers: Elmore (MU) 20.8, Davis (Char) 19.9, McGill (FIU) 19.3, Koulechov (Rice) 18.5, Browning (MU) 18.0, Williams (MT) 18.0
Rebounders: Kessens (FIU) 10.3, McCree (LT) 9.1, Johnson (WKU) 8.8.
Assists: Artis (UTEP) 7.5, Elmore (MU) 6.8, Bracey (LT) 5.8.
Top scoring teams: Marshall 88.1, Rice 85, La Tech 78.8.
Top shooting teams: Rice .494, La Tech .487, Middle Tennessee .483, Marshall .467.
Top 3-point % teams: Rice .399, Marshall .379, Middle Tennessee .373.
Offensive rebound %: ODU .383 (MU 10th at .257)
Defensive rebound %: La Tech .765 (MU 14th at .652)
I prefer those rebounding stats, as you can see. Tough to explain in a story, but a more effective analysis.