Blog Entry

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:02 pm

By Jeff Goodman

Conference USA is wide-open. 

Marshall squeaked by Central Florida this past weekend in Huntington. The Knights then held serve at home last night against Memphis. Southern Miss is also in the equation. 

"There's more parity in the league this year," Central Florida coach Donnie Jones said on Thursday morning. 

Jones said the court-storming at UCF was the first that anyone could remember in the history of the program. It was also the first time that the Knights had come on top against Memphis. 

"We were 0-10 against them going into the game," Jones said. "It's a big win for our program because of the level that they have been at over the years." 

The game-winner was delivered by junior big man Keith Clanton, whose foul in the final seconds against Marshall allowed DeAndre Kane to go to the line and give the Thundering Herd the win. 

"The place went crazy," Jones said. 

Now Central Florida sits a half-game behind Marshall, which is 4-0 in the league, and a half-game in front of both Memphis and Southern Miss. 

Clanton finished with 23 points and eight boards and rebounded from a dismal performance against Marshall with 20 points. Jones also praised the defensive effort of Isaiah Sykes in the second half, holding Memphis star Will Barton in check after a big first half. 

The Tigers were playing their second game without star freshman Adonis Thomas, who may miss the rest of the season following foot surgery. Thus far, Barton has been the only player on Josh Pastner's team that has lived up to expectations. 

Remember, this was a team that many pegged as a Top 10 squad nationally. 

The Tigers missed on virtually every quality opportunity in the non-league slate -- and now find themselves in the middle of a heated league race. 


Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:36 pm

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

One conference loss does not mean Memphis has "fallen to that level." They'll be all right. They should have won anyway. Watch the tape, the last call was pitiful. Just sayin. Its no different than Indiana losing to all. All teams lose on the road.

Since: Feb 15, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2012 8:09 am

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

Even if CUSA lucks out and gets more than one bid, teams other than Memphis have shown that they're just 1 and done in the NCAA and now even Memphis has fallen to that level. 

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2012 10:58 pm

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

Remember, this was a team that many pegged as a Top 10 squad nationally.
This is not a shot at Memphis - who have had multiple player issues and injuries this year. It does note that the preseason rankings are so routinely wrong they might learn. Even the hated BCS rankings do not start until several weeks of games have passed. So often preseason rankings are based upon national recruiting rankings. Rarely do freshmen carry a team to the final four and then they do not win. It is not about recruiting. It is about coaching. The best coaches continue to win with players not highly ranked by the ranking systems which, frankly, are not that able to evaluate talent. If they were able they would be working as coaches and getting paid the big bucks.

Conference USA may be wide open because of Memphis' weaknesses rather than the strength of the conference. As of January 19. 2012, Conference USA ranks 10th as a conference based upon's conference & team rankings. That places the conference behind the Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Atlantic 10 and all six of the BCS conferences. Will they get more than one NCAA invite? That is the question on the minds of many in the conference.

Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:20 pm

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

I think regular season champ has at least 3 losses.
I'm assuming you're saying 3 conference losses?  I dunno.. I could see memphis ending up with this one (UCF) and possibly one more, but more than that?   I'm not so sure..

I could see the "likely" 2nd place teams having 3 losses..

Since: Feb 1, 2010
Posted on: January 19, 2012 2:50 pm

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

I wonder how much strength of remaining schedule with matter between the top 4 ?

Does a team or two have an easier road going forward ?

I think regular season champ has at least 3 losses.    &nbs

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 2:28 pm

C-USA wide open after Memphis loss

Apparently the People Donnie talked to have not been around the program very long. There were a number of times in the old arena that the court was rushed including winning the TAAC to secure the first NCAA bid.

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