March 9, 2013
Regular season champion Memphis will be the No. 1 seed at the 2013 Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship, March 13-16 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The Tigers, C-USA regular season champions for the sixth time in eight years, enter the conference tournament as the No.1 seed, owning an overall record of 27-4 and a 16-0 mark in C-USA. That marks the fourth time in seven seasons that Memphis has finished undefeated in league play.
As the top seed, Memphis (21-2 in its last 23 C-USA Tournament games) will have a first-round bye. Other teams receiving first-round byes include No. 2 Southern Miss, No. 3 UTEP, No. 4 East Carolina and No. 5 Tulsa. With UCF being ineligible for postseason play, five teams received opening round byes. Wednesday's three first-round match-ups feature: No. 7 UAB vs. No. 10 SMU at 3:30 p.m. CDT, No. 6 Houston vs. No. 11 Rice at 6 p.m. CDT and No. 8 Tulane vs. No. 9 Marshall at 8:30 p.m. CDT. All first round games will be available on the C-USA Digital Network.
In Thursday's quarterfinal round, second-seeded Southern Miss will take on the winner of the UAB-SMU game at 12 p.m. and No. 3 UTEP will face the winner of the Houston-Rice match-up beginning at 2:30 p.m. Top seed Memphis will battle either Tulane or Marshall at 6 p.m., while No. 4 East Carolina will close out Thursday night against Tulsa at 8:30 p.m. All four quarterfinal games will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
The tournament will get underway on Wednesday when UAB (15-16, 7-9) squares off with SMU (15-16, 5-11) at 3:30 p.m. CT. The Blazers, who have won four of their last six games, are led by forward Rod Rucker, the team's leading scorer (14.5) and rebounder (8.3). The Mustangs are coached by Larry Brown who is the only coach to win an NCAA and NBA title. SMU features sophomore guard Ryan Manuel, who averages 12.3 points per game, while hitting 81.3 percent of his free throws. UAB won the regular season meeting between the teams, 74-69 on March 2 in Birmingham.
Cross-town rivals Houston (18-11, 7-9) and Rice (5-25, 1-15) meet in the second game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT. Cougars' sophomore guard Joseph Young, who scored a career-high 32 points in the regular season finale vs. Tulane, is now Conference USA's leading scorer at 18.5 per game and also averages 19.4 points in league games. Owls senior guard Tamir Jackson netted 30 points against Tulsa in the final regular season game and is fourth in the conference in scoring at 17.3 points per game. Houston sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas is fifth in C-USA scoring at 15.5, meaning three of the league's top five scorers will square off in this contest. The teams split the two regular season meetings, with each squad winning on their home floor.
Tulane (19-12, 7-9) and Marshall (13-18, 6-10) will play each other in the final game on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. CT. It will be the third time the Thundering Herd and the Green Wave will meet in the C-USA Championships, with the last two meetings also coming in the 8-9 game and both being won by Tulane. Tulane is paced by junior forward Josh Davis, the conference's top rebounder (10.3 rpg) who is third in scoring (17.5 ppg). The Herd, who finished as the runner-up in last year's C-USA Championship, are led by junior guard DeAndre Kane. He is the league's top playmaker, averaging 7.1 assists per game, while scoring at a 14.9 clip. Tulane won the regular season meeting between the schools, 91-75 in New Orleans on February 6.
All games will be played at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa, site of the 2010 C-USA Championship, won by Houston. Opening round games on Wednesday, March 13 will air on the C-USA Digital Network. In addition to the four quarterfinal games on Thursday, the Friday semifinal games will be shown on CBS Sports Network at 3 and 5:30 (CDT). CBS will broadcast the championship game on Saturday, beginning at 10:35 a.m. (CDT).
2013 Conference USA Championship Schedule
BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla.
Wednesday, March 13
(7) UAB vs. (10) SMU (C-USADN) 3:30p
(6) Houston vs. (11) Rice (C-USADN) 6:00p
(8) Tulane vs. (9) Marshall (C-USADN) 8:30p
Thursday, March 14
(2) Southern Miss vs. UAB/SMU (CBS Sports Network) 12:00p
(3) UTEP vs. HOU/RICE (CBS Sports Network) 2:30p
(1) Memphis vs. TLN/MAR (CBS Sports Network) 6:00p
(4) East Carolina vs. (5) Tulsa (CBS Sports Network) 8:30p
Friday, March 15
Semifinal # 1 (CBS Sports Network) 3:00p
Semifinal # 2 (CBS Sports Network) 5:30p
Saturday, March 16
Championship Game (CBS) 10:35a
All Times CENTRAL