Inside Marshall Sports

Conference USA rankings, 2/21

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The usual reminder: All teams play Thursday-Saturday weekends, both home or both away. This week’s exception: “Travel partners” UAB and Middle Tennessee play each other at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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

1. Middle Tennessee (24-4, 14-1, 31 RPI), d. WKU 78-52, d. Marshall 97-86. Both CBS’s Jerry Palm and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi put the Blue Raiders on the 11 line — on the bubble if an at-large berth becomes necessary. This week: at UAB (Sunday).

2. Louisiana Tech (20-8, 12-3, 123 RPI), d. FAU 95-69, d. FIU 77-61. Dunkin’ Dawgs on 6-game streak after killing “F” teams. This week: at North Texas, Rice.

3. Old Dominion (16-10, 9-5, 136 RPI), d. Charlotte 72-48. Uh, oh, Herd. Monarchs held Charlotte to 30% shooting. This week: home vs. Marshall, WKU.

4. Texas-El Paso (11-15, 9-5, 257 RPI), d. North Texas 77-71 (OT), d. Rice 79-71. For Miners, FAU/FIU is not known as the “sunshine trip” It’s the “humidity trip.” This week: at FAU, FIU.

5. Marshall (15-12, 8-6, 127 RPI), d. UAB 74-59, lost to MTSU 97-86. Needs 4-game sweep to equal last year’s 12-6 league record. This week: at ODU, Charlotte.

6. Western Kentucky (13-14, 7-7, 218 RPI), lost to MTSU 78-52, d. UAB 76-64. Nicely impersonated a contender in Sunday TV game vs. Blazers. This week: at Charlotte, ODU.

7. Alabama-Birmingham (15-13, 8-7, 181 RPI), lost to Marshall 74-59, lost to WKU 76-64. Mired in a 1-5 mess, I might be overranking Blazers. This week: home vs. MTSU (Sunday).

8. Rice (18-9, 8-6, 184 RPI), d. UTSA 80-68, lost to UTEP 79-71. Owls close to fulfilling my crazy prediction of a first-round bye, but must finish 3-1 vs. Southern Miss, La Tech, Marshall, WKU. This week: home vs. Southern Miss, La Tech.

9. Charlotte (11-14, 5-9, 233 RPI), lost to ODU 72-48. Another team in 1-5 skid. This week: home vs. WKU, Marshall.

10. Florida Atlantic (9-16, 5-9, 286 RPI), Lost to La Tech 95-69, d. Southern Miss 94-82. This week: home vs UTEP, UTSA.

11. Texas-San Antonio (11-16, 6-8, 300 RPI), lost to Rice 80-68, lost to North Texas 83-73. Somehow, this team has a legit shot of recovering and rising back to .500. Really. This week: at FIU, FAU.

12. Southern Mississippi (8-19, 5-10, 336 RPI), d. FIU 69-66, lost to FAU 94-82. This week: at Rice, North Texas.

13. North Texas (8-18, 2-12, 331 RPI), lost to UTEP 77-71, d. UTSA 73-63. Rallying too late to make C-USA tournament or save Tony Benford’s job. Name to know: PG Ryan Woolridge, 2-time C-USA freshman of the week. This week: home vs. La Tech, Southern Miss.

14. Florida International (6-21, 2-12, 340 of 351 RPI), lost to Southern Miss 69-66, lost to La Tech 77-61. This week: home vs. UTSA, UTEP.

 

TV games — beIN Sports: Marshall at Old Dominion, 8 p.m. Thursday. ASN: Marshall at Charlotte, 6 p.m. Saturday. ESPN3: WKU at Old Dominion.

Stat leaders

Top scorers: Elmore (Mar) 20.1, Davis (Cha) 20.0, Evans (Rice) 19.2.

Rebounders: Kessens (FIU) 9.2, Johnson (WKU) 9.1, McCree (LT) 8.9.

Assists: Elmore (MU) 6.1, Bracey (LT) 5.964, Artis (UTEP) 5.962.

Top scoring teams: Marshall 86.2, Rice 81.7, Louisiana Tech 76.9.

Top shooting teams: Middle Tennessee .486, Rice .470, Louisiana Tech .469. (Marshall 6th at .458)

Top 3-point % teams: Rice .393, Marshall .374, Charlotte .369.

Offensive rebound %: Old Dominion .362 (MU 11th at .242)

Defensive rebound %: UTSA .770 (MU 14th, .666)