Conference USA basketball wrapped up a stellar regular season this past week and now prepares for the much-anticipated C-USA Tournament from Frisco, Texas beginning Wednesday.
The seeding is official for each of the 12 teams that qualified for the C-USA Tournament and there are several intriguing matchups to look forward to. Let’s take a look at the C-USA basketball power rankings for March 5 (these rankings do not reflect the seeding in the C-USA Tournament).
1. Middle Tennessee (24-6, 16-2)
The MTSU Blue Raiders closed out another fantastic regular season this past week with a C-USA regular season championship crown for the second straight season. However, not everything went smoothly for MTSU this past week.
The Blue Raiders blew past Western Kentucky at home on March 1 to clinch the C-USA regular season championship, but fell to Marshall at home on March 3 for the second time this regular season to finish the regular season with a 16-2 record in C-USA play. With the 1-seed in the C-USA Tournament, the Blue Raiders have a first-round bye this week.
MTSU awaits the winner of 8th-seeded Florida International vs. 9th-seeded Southern Miss on Wednesday and will face the winner Thursday night. The Blue Raiders hope to turn another C-USA regular season championship into another C-USA Tournament Championship this week and have clinched the top spot in the C-USA power rankings at regular season’s end.
2. Old Dominion (24-6, 15-3)
ODU seemed unlikely to be able to grasp the 2-seed in the C-USA Tournament, but after a big final week of regular season action and some help, the Monarchs will be the 2-seed in the C-USA Tournament this week. ODU picked up a couple key wins this past week to end the regular season and gain momentum.
The Monarchs defeated Florida Atlantic at home on March 1 and followed it up with another home win against Florida International on March 3 to clinch a 15-3 record in C-USA play to close out the regular season. The Monarchs will be the 2-seed with a first-round bye in the C-USA Tournament after Western Kentucky lost two games this past week.
ODU will face the winner of 7th-seeded North Texas vs. 10th-seeded Louisiana Tech on Wednesday in the quarterfinal round Thursday night. The Monarchs closed out the regular season on a high note and head into the C-USA Tournament in the number two position in the C-USA power rankings.
3. Western Kentucky (22-9, 14-4)
The WKU Hilltoppers wrapped up a stellar season this past week on a sour note, but will remain a legitimate threat in the C-USA Tournament this week. WKU lost its final two regular season games this past week and fell from the 2-seed to the 3-seed in the C-USA Tournament.
The Hilltoppers lost at MTSU on March 1 and were unable to rebound with another blowout loss at UAB on March 3 to finish the regular season with a 14-4 record in C-USA play, one game behind ODU. Despite the losses, the Hilltoppers have a first-round bye in the C-USA Tournament while occupying the 3-seed.
WKU awaits the winner of 6th-seeded UAB and 11th-seeded FAU on Wednesday in the quarterfinal round Thursday night. The Hilltoppers will look to get the bad taste out of their mouths from the final two regular season games this week and they control the number three position in the power rankings.
4. Marshall (21-10, 12-6)
The Marshall Thundering Herd had an up and down final week of regular season C-USA action, but the up was a big up and gives the Herd a lot of momentum heading into the C-USA Tournament. Marshall got a huge road win this past week to clinch the 4-seed in the C-USA Tournament.
The Herd lost at UAB on March 1, but responded with a huge road win at then-No. 24 MTSU to sweep the regular season series with the Blue Raiders and finish with a 12-6 regular season record in C-USA play. The win clinched the 4-seed and final first-round bye in the C-USA Tournament after holding off UTSA.
Marshall will face the winner of 5th-seeded UTSA vs. 12th-seeded UTEP on Wednesday in the quarterfinal round Thursday night. Marshall’s first top 25 win in over seven years gives the Herd key momentum heading into the C-USA Tournament and it maintains the number four position in the C-USA basketball power rankings.