32 Conferences in 64 Days: C-USA

C-USA always has a bunch of teams that are fighting for that auto bid when March comes around. This season will be no different. I could see my Top 5 have the talent to win the conference tournament. But who will be the surprised team that no one saw coming?

  1. Western Kentucky (13 Seed)
  2. UAB
  3. North Texas
  4. Marshall
  5. Old Dominion
  6. Louisiana Tech
  7. UTSA
  8. Charlotte
  9. Middle Tennessee
  10. Southern Miss
  11. FAU
  12. FIU
  13. UTEP
  14. Rice
  1. Western Kentucky- Coming in tied for 2nd in the conference was disappointing finish for the Hilltoppers who preseason favorites were. They bring in Kenny Cooper who sat out last season because of transfer rules. Having the experienced floor general will help this offense improve which was their weakness last season. They might have a depth issue but I think their top 5 will overcome their bench issues.
  2. UAB- Andy Kennedy is a huge hire for the UAB program. He brought in one of the best transfer class in the CUSA. They also bring back a lot of their production. The mix of new coaching, newcomers and some solid returners. Except the Blazers being in the race for the conference title and the auto bid.
  3. North Texas- The 2019-20 Conference USA regular season champions bring back 60% of their production. The issue is I do not think their newcomers will be able to replace all of that in one season. The Mean Green will be a very good team but I do not think they will be a back to back regular season champion, but you never know when it comes to March.
  4. Marshall- The Thundering Herd finished a solid 10-8 season in 2019-20 on a 3-game winning streak. They have the most returning production of any team in the conference at 96%. This team is my dark horse who no one will want to face in the C-USA tournament. They need to shoot the ball better but if they do then watch out for the Herd. 
  5. Old Dominion- The Monarchs are one of the slowest teams in the nation. They want to walk the ball up the court and winning 40-35 is just fine with them if possible. They bring back 85% of their production from last season where they finished in the middle of the pack in conference. Their experience will make them improve by I don’t think gets them to the top.
  6. Louisiana Tech- The Bulldogs were right in the conference title race finishing 1 game out of 1st place in 2019-20. Losing over 50% of their production from last year will be hard to replace right away. Except the Bulldogs to be back towards the top in a few years when their freshmen are experienced.
  7. UTSA- The Roadrunners bring back most of their roster from a 7-11 team last season. But they do not bring in any players who should help the team right away. I think this team will be in the same place at the end of the season then they were last season. The Roadrunners seem to be stuck in the mud.
  8. Charlotte- This 49ers program loses 4 out of their top 5 scorers from a team that came in at 10-8 during conference play. They are the best recruiting class in the conference according to ESPN. If they can mesh as a team quickly then they could be back when they were last season but I think they will have some growing pains this season.
  9. Middle Tennessee- The Blue Raiders finished in dead last a season ago in the conference. They bring in 4 transfers and only lost a role player to the portal. This team is hard to predict because of all of the new faces. I think they will end up in the middle of the conference. The most important thing for this program is to keep all these players in the future to build something.
  10. Southern Miss- One of the most improved teams in the CUSA will be the Golden Eagles. They bring in 3 out of the top 40 JUCO rankings according to ESPN rankings. The 5-13 record in conference last season will turn into around a .500 record this season. If they can find their groove I can see them raise a few spots above this 10th spot.
  11. FAU- The Owls will miss Jailyn Ingram this season who got hurt in March and most likely won’t see the court this season because he has applied for a medical hardship redshirt. Guard Cornelius Taylor will need to step up for the team to have any success in this conference this season. Coach Dusty May will be in for a long year.
  12. FIU- The Panthers have one of the fastest teams in the nation. Any 2 seasons with decent seasons in conference play I think they take a step back this season.  FAU lives and dies with the 3 pointer and they lose both of their best shooters. I just don’t think they will be able to find that offense. 
  13. UTEP- El Paso was a great place for the Miners last season. A 13-4 home record versus a 3-9 record away from home is proves the great home court advantage they had. Losing some or all their fans this season will hurt them in this season of COVID. Also losing their top 2 scorers will make the offense struggle. 
  14. Rice- The Owls lose their top 5 scorers from last season. They did not bring in much talent to replace that. Chris Mullins will need to have a magically offensive junior year for this team to be any good. It will not be a fun season for Rice.

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