The 2017-18 Conference USA basketball season has come to an exciting end after this past week’s C-USA Tournament as the league now prepares for five of its teams (Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, UTSA, and North Texas) to play in a postseason tournament.
The league had as good of a season as it has had in a long time and will look to build on that momentum into postseason play and into the 2018-19 regular season. Let’s take a look at this season’s final C-USA basketball power rankings for March 13.
1. Marshall (24-10, 12-6)
The Thundering Herd of Marshall made history over 30 years in the making this past week that has sent shock waves around much of the country. The Herd put forth a performance in the C-USA Tournament that the program has never had before and it resulted in a first-ever occurrence for Marshall basketball.
The 4-seed Marshall defeated 5-seed UTSA in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament on March 8, 9-seeded Southern Miss on March 9 in the semifinals, and then defeated 3-seeded Western Kentucky to win the program’s first-ever C-USA Tournament Championship and for the first time since 1987, a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Herd will be a 13-seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament and bring a 24-10 overall record into a battle with 4-seeded Wichita State on Friday. The Herd beat Middle Tennessee twice and won three games in three days to win the C-USA Tournament, and that success elevates Marshall to the top spot in the power rankings.
2. Middle Tennessee (24-7, 16-2)
The MTSU Blue Raiders had another fantastic regular season by clinching a second straight C-USA regular season championship, but a shocking loss in the C-USA Tournament put a sour finish on an otherwise stellar season that ultimately cost MTSU’s March dreams.
The 1-seeded Blue Raiders shockingly lost to 9-seeded Southern Miss in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament on March 8 to fall to 24-7 on the season and had to await their fate in terms of an NCAA Tournament bid. But unfortunately, the Blue Raiders did not receive a bid into the NCAA Tournament and will turn their attention to another postseason tournament.
MTSU will be a 3-seed in the National Invitation Tournament and host 6-seeded Vermont Tuesday night. The Blue Raiders did not get what they ultimately wanted, but they still had an outstanding season and clinch the number two position in the final C-USA basketball power rankings.
3. Western Kentucky (24-10, 14-4)
The Hilltoppers of WKU had a breakthrough season in 2017-18 and had an impressive run this past week in the C-USA Tournament, but ultimately did not convert on the chance to make the big dance for the first time since 2013 by the thinnest of margins.
The 3-seed WKU knocked off 6-seeded UAB in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament on March 8, defeated 2-seeded Old Dominion on March 9 in the semifinals, but fell in heartbreaking fashion to Marshall in the C-USA Tournament Championship game on March 10 to fall to 24-10 overall. Despite missing out on the big dance, WKU will be playing in the postseason.
The Hilltoppers are a 4-seed in the NIT and will host 5-seeded Boston College Tuesday night. WKU narrowly missed out on the NCAA Tournament, but have still had a stellar season that isn’t over yet and the Hilltoppers finish in the number three spot in the C-USA power rankings.
4. Old Dominion (25-7, 15-3)
The ODU Monarchs had another stellar season and were C-USA contenders throughout the majority of the season, but they came up short in the C-USA Tournament to end the dream of winning a C-USA Championship and earning a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Monarchs earned a 2-seed in the C-USA Tournament and defeated 10-seeded Louisiana Tech in the quarterfinals on March 8, but fell to 3-seeded WKU in the semifinals on March 9 to fall to 25-7 overall. The Monarchs were out of the picture for an NCAA Tournament berth, but they also missed out on another key tournament.
ODU failed to receive an invitation to the NIT and opted not to compete in any other postseason tournament. ODU deserved more of a postseason payoff for its successful season, but even while missing out on the postseason, the Monarchs finish at number four in the final C-USA basketball power rankings.