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Conference USA downright abysmal, no one deserving of NCAA bid

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Conference USA doesn't deserve an automatic bid.

All right, I admit that might be taking it a bit far, but this league downright stinks this season. It should be a one-bid league no matter what happens over the next couple of months. Memphis, the torchbearer for the conference, is now 6-3 overall and has come up short on all three of its "resume" games. The Tigers most impressive win has come against an Ohio University squad that has lost to Winthrop and Robert Morris.

The Tigers stiffest competition in the league was supposed to come from Marshall or maybe Central Florida. The Knights, though, aren't even eligible for the postseason. Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd are now 6-5 and without their best player, guard DeAndre Kane, who could miss the next month with a hand injury. Among Marshall's five losses, four have come to West Virginia, Villanova, South Dakota State and Hofstra. That could wind up being four teams that aren't in the NCAA tourney come March.

According to KenPom.com, Southern Miss currently is the second-best team in C-USA. I'm down with that after watching Donnie Tyndall's team give Arizona all it could handle in Tucson. However, the Eagles have also lost to New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech.

Let's move on, shall we.

East Carolina is next on Kenny Pom's rankings, checking in third overall in the league. Jeff Lebo's Pirates weren't embarrassed against North Carolina over the weekend and there only other setback has come to Charlotte. However, half of their victories have come against non-Division 1 opponents (Washington & Lee, Methodist and St. Andrew's). Brutal.

Next up is Tulane, which is set to be the pride of the Big East (or whatever we are gonna call that fragmented league run by Mike Aresco). Ed Conroy's team has a nice record of 7-3 overall, is coming off a loss to San Diego (no, not San Diego State) and it's most impressive victory is a toss-up between Southern, Chicago State, Bethune-Cookman, Nicholls State or Navy.

Jerod Haase took over a train wreck that Mike Davis left behind at UAB, so there's no reason to blame him for the Blazers 5-6 start that includes wins over Young Harris, Navy, Prairie View A&M, Troy and South Alabama.

Tim Floyd is a heck of a coach. Everyone in the industry knows that, but UTEP is just 3-4 and has come up empty in four attempts againstg the so-called big boys: Arizona, Oklahoma, Clemson and Vandy.

SMU and Larry Brown jumped out to an 8-1 start, but is coming off a 22-point drubbing against a URI team that could finish in the A-10 cellar. Just as the case with Haase, we can't blame Danny Manning for the lack of talent in Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes are 6-4, but three losses have come at the hands of Arkansas-Little Rock, Stephen F. Austin and Cal State Northridge.

Despite an 8-2 mark, Houston sits toward the bottom of the league. James Dickey's group lost to Prairie View and has beaten a bunch of cupcakes (i.e. Florida A&M, Texas Southern, Grambling, Sam Jose State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi). Then there's Rice. Just not much positivity in Ben Braun's program right now. There was a mass exodus, racial allegations and the Owls are 2-7 with one of their wins coming against a non-Division 1 and the other against Houston Baptist out of the Great West.

Someone will leave Tulsa, the site of the league tourney, holding an automatic NCAA tourney bid. However, I'm almost certain whoever it is will haven't done much to earn it.

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