After watching the Herd snatch defeat against UTEP, here’s a stab at projected Conference USA standings:
1. Memphis 16-0
2. Houston 13-3
3. UAB 11-5
4. UCF 10-6
5. UTEP 9-7
6. Marshall 8-8 (wins tiebreaker)
7. Tulane 8-8
8. Tulsa 7-9
9. Southern Miss 7-9
10. SMU 4-12
11. East Carolina 3-13
12. Rice 0-16
I’m taking a pretty optimistic track, picking Marshall to bounce back and knock off UCF this Saturday, then lose two on the road and beat Southern Miss.
UCFÂ has been very good since joining C-USA, but the Herd under Donnie Jones has bounced back nicely after grating losses. You should see a sense of urgency at the HC — Marshall must have this game, IMO, to stay on the road to 8-8. 7-9 is going to get you in the 8-vs.-9 game at the C-USA tournament (winner gets Memphis).
Some thoughts after the UTEP game:
— Robbie Jackson is starting to play like an honest-to-gosh 7-footer. He’s getting open, catching the pass and going up with authority. And since his free-throw stroke is soooooo much better, it’s good to get him to the line.
— DJ admitted he may have overused Darryl Merthie. He said P-Mac never got into the flow after getting in early foul trouble. Hmm…. As well as Merthie has played in the past month, you wonder if you want him on the floor in the final 10 seconds.
— Actually, I have a feeling the Herd spent a lot of time practicing late-game situations. Between Merthie’s disasters and Mark Dorris trying to re-enact the SMU game, there was some brain-cramping going on with the green squad. As another coach would say, “DJ’s got to get that fixed.”