Inside Marshall Sports

Conference USA rankings 2/7

After a week’s hiatus, a considerable shake-up. This is starting to resemble the league standings, but there are some twists.

The usual reminder: All teams play Thursday-Saturday weekends, both home or both away. This week’s exception: “Travel partners” Marshall and Western Kentucky play each other in a single game Saturday.

My rankings, with last week’s results and upcoming schedule (RPI entering Tuesday’s games):

1. Middle Tennessee (20-4, 10-1, 47 RPI), d. UTSA 69-59, lost to UTEP 57-54. For the second time, drops out of the “Receiving Votes” category. Losing 17-point leads will do that to you. This week: home vs. Old Dominion, Charlotte.

2. Louisiana Tech (16-8, 8-3, 128 RPI), d. Western Kentucky 76-67, d. Marshall 94-90. DeQuan Bracey had 5 assists, 0 turnovers vs. Marshall. His ratio now is 3.6, which *easily* leads the league. This week: at UTEP, UTSA.

3. Old Dominion (14-9, 7-4, 167 RPI), d. FIU 64-57, lost to FAU 65-61. So who else do I put up here. This week: at MTSU, UAB.

4. Texas-El Paso (8-14, 6-4, 296 RPI), d. UAB 63-59, d. MTSU 57-54. 7-foot-1 Matt Willms hit 2 FTs to clinch dramatic upset over MTSU. So the big guy wakes up and now he’s hitting from the line, too? That’s trouble. This week: home vs. La Tech, Southern Miss.

5. Alabama-Birmingham (14-10, 7-4, 166 RPI), lost to UTEP 63-59, lost to UTSA 82-67. I’ve seen UTSA. The Roadrunners just aren’t that good. Another wretched loss for Blazers. This week: home vs. Charlotte, Old Dominion.

6. Western Kentucky (12-12, 6-5, 208 RPI), lost to La Tech 76-67, d. Southern Miss 64-47. Don’t look now, but these guys are on a 3-1 roll, with a win over suddenly hot UTEP. This week: home vs. Marshall.

7. Marshall (13-11, 6-5, 153 RPI), lost to Southern Miss 91-76, lost to La Tech 94-90. Southern Miss was the worst loss of the season, and it’s not close. Suddenly, a 9-9 league record is not a given. This week: at WKU.

8. Charlotte (11-11, 5-6, 240 RPI), lost to FAU 77-75, d. FIU 95-80. This week: at UAB, MTSU.

9. Rice (15-8, 5-5, 177 RPI), d. North Texas 95-80. This week: at FIU, FAU.

10. Florida Atlantic (8-13, 4-6, 332 RPI), d. Charlotte 77-75, d. ODU 65-61. You just don’t walk into The Burrow and come out with a win. Wait … Owls pulled their Charlotte/ODU sweep on the road. Wow. This week: vs. North Texas, Rice.

11. Texas-San Antonio (10-13, 5-5, 293 RPI), lost to MTSU 69-59, d. UAB 82-67. So what can this team do to get any respect? This week: at Marshall, WKU.

12. Southern Mississippi (7-16, 4-7, 332 RPI), d. Marshall 91-76, lost to WKU 76-67. xxxx. This week: at UTSA, UTEP.

13. Florida International (5-18, 1-9, 337 of 351 RPI), GAME OF THE YEAR ALERT: Panthers host North Texas on Saturday in battle of the two teams who won’t make the field in Birmingham. This week: home vs. Rice, North Texas.

14. North Texas (6-16, 0-10, 330 RPI), lost to Rice 95-80. These guys play at Marshall in the regular-season finale. And the Mean Green’s season finale. This week: at FAU, FIU.

TV games — beIN Sports: Old Dominion at Middle Tennessee, 8 p.m. Thursday. Campus Insiders: Charlotte at Middle Tennessee, 6 p.m. ASN  (certain markets): Old Dominion at UAB, 8 p.m. Saturday

Stat leaders

Top scorers: Davis (Char) 19.8, Elmore (Marshall) 19.5, McGill (FIU) 19.4.

Rebounders: Kessens (FIU) 9.5, McCree (LT) 8.9, Johnson (WKU) 8.7.

Assists: Elmore (MU) 6.3, Artis (UTEP) 6.0, Bracey (LT) 5.4.

Top scoring teams: Marshall 86.8, Rice 82.0, Charlotte 78.9.

Top shooting teams: Middle Tennessee .487, Rice .476, UAB .470. (Marshall 5th at .460)

Top 3-point % teams: Rice .400, Charlotte .387, Marshall .375.

Offensive rebound %: Old Dominion .370 (MU 11th at .238)

Defensive rebound %: UTSA .764 (MU 14th, .663)