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C-USA will hold 2014 tourney at UTEP, remain at 14 schools

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Conference USA has been somewhat forgotten during the past few rounds of conference realignment. Most of the attention was given to the breakup of the old Big East -- and the subsequent creation of the new Big East and American Athletic Conference.

The league has been plenty busy itself, though, picking up nine schools that will join during the next two years.

By 2014-15, Conference USA will have 14 members: Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP, Texas-San Antonio and Western Kentucky.

And that's what the league will stay with for the time being.

“We are thrilled with our membership going forward and excited about our collective potential,” C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said earlier this week at the annual Board of Directors meeting. “Our organization has established a great foundation in an increasingly stable environment. The system has found calm waters, which is helpful to all of us.”

There had been some talk that the league would add two more schools to get to 16.

At the meeting, the league also decided on locations for 15 of its 17 conference championships. Memphis has hosted the men's basketball tournament in the past, but with the Tigers off to the AAC, a new host was needed.

The league went with UTEP as the host for the 2013-14 season, meaning the 16-team tournament will descend upon El Paso, Texas, in early March. The women's basketball tournament is also being held there.

Conference USA will lose UCF, Memphis, Houston and SMU to the American Athletic Conference for the 2013-14 season, with East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa joining in 2014.

 
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