If there is any magic in sports, it occurs in March with NCAA Basketball. Conference tournaments are already underway for some, and Cinderella headlines are in the microwave, ready for a reheat. It will take a true miracle for a poor UTSA team to win 5 straight and a right to a play in game in Dayton. So to keep Runner fans involved, what else should we look for? I plan on following our future conference mates as they go through their respective tournaments.
WAC- Of course the WAC is home of our team, but also for Louisiana Tech who will be going with us to CUSA West. Louisiana Tech is the #1 seed and 16-1 in conference play and are the obvious favorite for the conference tournament. If they lose, an at large bid as doubtful.
Sun Belt- Middle Tennessee went undefeated in conference and are expected to run through the tournament. Both MTU and Florida International have first round byes and play their first game Saturday against ULL. In the first round UNT and Florida Atlantic have been eliminated. Possible future CUSA member Western Kentucky, who made the tournament last year despite a poor regular season, also won their first round game. I didn’t realize that WKU has won their conference tournament 8 of the last 20 years, that’s pretty impressive. Maybe I shouldn’t be so negative towards their potential invite.
Colonial- Old Dominion is ineligible for their conference tournament because of a league rule involved with them leaving for CUSA. Sucks right? Doesn’t really matter, they are in last place anyway. The team does have some history though, winning the tournament 8 times.
Atlantic 10- Charlotte should make the tournament, but will be one of the lower seeds. The conference has some strong programs, so it would take an impressive run to get the 49ers into the dance.
Conference USA- Memphis is undefeated in league play and as a top 25 team are expected to win the Tulsa based tournament. Memphis is moving on to the Big East/Atlantic 12/Conference TBA next year so holding out hope that one of the remaining CUSA schools can break through. Southern Miss is the 2nd seed and UTEP is the 3rd, both will share a division with UTSA in the future.
The new version of CUSA has some basketball programs on the up and some that have a little bit of mid-major history. Hopefully someday CUSA can become a strong, multi-bid basketball conference.
The rare second generation Roadrunner and I have been so happy to see the developments over the last 10 years or so. I graduated way back in 2000, when football was just some far away dream. Twitter