Sunday, March 6, 2016

CUSA conference tournament preview

This is part 16 of a 32-part series that will take a look at every conference and conference tournament in the country.  We'll recap who's playing and what the stakes are for each team in the conference.

The standings:
UAB 16-2 (26-5)
Middle Tennessee 13-5 (21-9)
Marshall 12-6 (16-15)
Louisiana Tech 12-6 (23-8)
Old Dominion 12-6 (19-12)
UTEP 10-8 (18-13)
Charlotte 9-9 (13-18)
Western Kentucky 8-10 (16-15)
North Texas 7-11 (12-19)
Rice 7-11 (12-19)
Florida International 7-11 (13-18)
Southern Miss 5-13 (8-21)
Florida Atlantic 5-13 (7-24)
Texas-San Antonio 3-15 (5-26)

Tournament format:
Southern Miss is ineligible, so the other 13 teams are headed to Birmingham (home-court advantage for UAB!).  Standard format, from Tuesday March 8 to Saturday March 12.

The matchups:
1) UAB vs. 8/9) Western Kentucky/North Texas
4) Louisiana Tech vs. 5/12/13) Old Dominion/Florida Atlantic/Texas-San Antonio
2) Middle Tennessee vs. 7/10) Charlotte/Rice
3) Marshall vs. 6/11) UTEP/Florida International

The stakes:
Not much.  Great overall record, UAB.  It pairs very poorly with your non-con SoS in the 300s.  No real quality wins.  They're going to be trapped on the 14 line, because the conference is around 20 in the conference RPI.  It's a shame for UAB, who can be a legitimate program, but they're trapped in this dreck of a conference.

No one here can make a case for an at-large from the NIT.   Middle Tennessee has 0 Top 95 RPI wins.  This means, if the teams want to, they can flood the other postseason tournaments, with 6 eligible teams up and down the standings.  Bids for the 2nd place team and the three 3rd place teams would be a reasonable and fair outcome.

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