Looking ahead to the Conference USA tournament

With just six conference games left on the 2014-15 schedule for most teams in Conference USA, it’s now the time of the year to put thoughts of the Conference USA tournament in the back of our minds. 

This season’s Conference USA tournament will be held from March 11-14th at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Alabama (hosted by, you guessed it, UAB). But, Conference USA’s tournament setup is a little different than others. Instead of all 14 teams participating in the tournament, only the top 12 teams attend. Also note that Southern Miss is excluded from the tournament this year no matter their record (self-imposed post season ban), which isn’t good to begin with.

As of today, the teams that would be proceeding to the tournament are Louisiana Tech (11-2), UTEP (10-2), WKU (9-3), UAB (9-4), Old Dominion (7-5), UTSA (7-6), Rice (6-6), MTSU (6-7), FIU (5-7), North Texas (5-7), Marshall (5-7), and Charlotte (4-8).

Now looking strictly to the Hilltoppers remaining schedule; Ray Harper and his squad play at UAB tomorrow, at Middle Tennessee Sunday, home vs. FAU on 2/26 and FIU on 2/28, at Charlotte on 3/5, and at Old Dominion on 3/7. I predict the Fellas to lose to the Blazers, but win the other five. That would finish the Tops’ regular season 21-9 overall and 14-4 in Conference USA, and possibly make them finish their inaugural season in C-USA in third place behind La Tech and UTEP, who should both win out. 


My Predicted Tournament Bracket:

1 Seed – Louisiana Tech
2 Seed – UTEP
3 Seed – WKU
4 Seed – UAB
5 Seed – Old Dominion
6 Seed – UTSA
7 Seed – Rice
8 Seed – MTSU
9 Seed – FIU
10 Seed – North Texas
11 Seed – Marshall
12 Seed – Charlotte

If this is indeed how the bracket is set up at the end of the year, your matchups would be as follows:

First Round:

No. 8 MTSU vs. No. 9 FIU

-winner plays Louisiana Tech

 

No. 5 Old Dominion vs. No. 12 Charlotte

-winner plays UAB

 

No. 7 Rice vs. No. 10 North Texas

-winner plays UTEP

 

No. 6 UTSA vs. No. 11 Marshall

-winner plays WKU

 

Now, for my predictions for throughout the tournament:

Quarterfinals:

No. 1 Louisiana Tech vs. No. 8 MTSU

No. 4 UAB vs. No. 5 Old Dominion

No. 2 UTEP vs. No. 7 Rice

No. 3 WKU vs. No. 11 Marshall

 

Semifinals:

No. 1 Lousiana Tech vs. No. 4 UAB

No. 2 UTEP vs. No. 3 WKU

 

Championship Game:

No. 4 UAB vs. No. 3 WKU

 

Champion:

Western Kentucky


 

Now you see how the tournament is set up and what we think could play out. We hope our Tops do what we think they will! How would you set the bracket up? What do you see WKU doing in the tournament and the remainder of the regular season? Let us know in a comment below or on Twitter at @WaveTheRedTowel or @TopperTime_WKU. GO TOPS!