Pairings for 2010 GMC Sierra Men's Basketball Championship
March 6, 2010
Regular season champion UTEP will be the No. 1 seed at the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship, March 10-13 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The Miners, ranked as high as No. 21 in the country, enter the conference tournament as the No.1 seed for the first time, owning an overall record of 24-5 (15-1 in C-USA) and a current winning streak of 14 games.
As the top seed, UTEP will have a first-round bye at the tournament. Other teams receiving first-round byes include No. 2 Memphis, No. 3 UAB and No. 4 Marshall. Wednesday's first-round match-ups feature: No. 7 Houston vs. No. 10 East Carolina at Noon, No. 6 Southern Miss vs. No. 11 Tulane at 2:30 p.m., No. 5 Tulsa vs. No. 12 Rice at 6 p.m., and No. 8 SMU vs. No. 9 UCF at 8:30 p.m. CT.
In Thursday's quarterfinal round, No. 2 Memphis (23-8, 13-3) will take on the winner of the Houston-East Carolina game at Noon and No. 3 UAB (23-7, 11-5) will face the winner of the Southern Miss-Tulane match-up beginning at 2:30 p.m. No. 4 seed Marshall (23-8, 11-5) will battle either Tulsa or Rice at 6:30 p.m., while top-seeded UTEP will close out Thursday night against the winner of the SMU-UCF contest at 9 p.m. All four quarterfinal games will be televised by CBS College Sports Network.
The tournament will get underway on Wednesday when Houston squares off with East Carolina at Noon. The Cougars are led by senior guard Aubrey Coleman, the nation's leading scorer (26.0 ppg). East Carolina's attack is spearheaded by junior guard Brock Young, one of the nation's leaders in assists. Houston won the regular season meeting between the teams, 74-55, on Jan. 16 in Greenville, N.C.
Longtime rivals Southern Miss and Tulane meet in the second game on Wednesday. The Golden Eagles, who have won their last four opening round C-USA Championship games, are led by junior forward Gary Flowers, who ranks in the top 10 in the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks. The Green Wave, who closed the regular season with a victory over Houston, has also won four straight opening games at the C-USA Championship, giving head coach Dave Dickerson a 4-0 record in opening round tournament games. Southern Miss took both regular season meetings between the teams, including a 66-57 decision last Tuesday in Hattiesburg, Miss. This will mark the first time that these two charter members have ever met each other in the 15-year history of the C-USA Championship.
Host Tulsa and Rice will square off in the 8-9 game at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Tulsa features a talented inside-outside senior duo in guard Ben Uzoh and center Jerome Jordan. The Golden Hurricane has reached the championship game of the past two C-USA Championships. Rice is led by freshman forward Arsalan Kazemi, NCAA Division I's first-ever Iranian-born player. Tulsa won the only meeting between the teams this season, 62-58 in Tulsa on Jan. 23. The teams squared off in last year's championship quarterfinals, with Tulsa winning, 73-51.
The final game on Wednesday pits SMU against UCF at 8:30 p.m. CT. The Mustangs, who have improved their win total by five games this season, are led by junior forward Papa Dia, who ranks in the top five in the league in rebounding and field goal percentage. The Knights bring a famous sibling to Tulsa in the form of freshman guard Marcus Jordan, son of Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. The Mustangs took the regular season meeting between the teams, 65-43, on Jan. 27 in Dallas.
Memphis (22-8, 13-3 in C-USA) has won each of the last four tournaments and is 15-1 in its last 16 C-USA Championship games. UAB (23-7, 11-5) finished in the top four of the regular season standings for the sixth time in seven years. Marshall (23-8, 11-5) has posted its highest win total since the 1987-88 season and earns its first tournament bye since joining the league in 2005.
All games will be played at BOK Center, the state-of-the-art arena in downtown Tulsa. In addition to the quarterfinal games, semifinal games will be shown on CBS College Sports Network at 3 and 5:30 (CST). CBS will broadcast the championship game on Saturday, beginning at 10:35 a.m. (CST). For ticket information, please visit the BOK Center box office at www.bokcenter.com.
2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship
Wednesday, March 10
Thursday, March 11
Friday, March 12
Saturday, March 13
*highest remaining seed entering the semifinals will play at 3:00 p.m.