Old Dominion put up a little fight midway through the second half to trim the deficit and make the game vs 3rd ranked Purdue a little interesting.
Aside from that, we saw a really good Boilermaker team handle their business with ease against CUSA’s best squad in the regular season and its luckiest in the post-season.
Some fans have a results-based view of this sport, and view anything less than a four-share NCAA tournament is abject failure. The new bonus play schedule was designed to produce better seeds and if possible, more seeds.
Unfortunately, CUSA basketball was simply not as good as last year’s version. It seems no amount of shuffling to boost the ratings of the top performers was enough to elevate the top five into something better than a 14-seed.
ODU had a good team, but obviously flawed with their overreliance upon Ahmad Caver and BJ Stith. Xavier Green won the tournament MVP — deserved! — but struggled against Purdue and the limitations of the Monarch offensive flow were evident.
College basketball changes so much from year-to-year that it is difficult to project any one team as much of anything next season.
The ODU program just finished a senior cycle and will face questions about the future of their head coach’s health as they rebuild and retool around Xavier Green and the younger members of the team.
Meanwhile, WKU is forever talented but will have roster turnover likely beginning with Charles Bassey. USM sort of fell flat in the pay-to-play tournament and will have to rely on Doc Sadler to rebuild the roster that was heavy laden with seniors.
UAB is in a similar situation and had a similar ending in their tournament. UTSA is likely bringing back their scoring duo — Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace — although there are whispers about transfers there. Steve Henson has done really well and may be poached as the college basketball silly season heats up.
North Texas hit a wall, and there are questions about the head coach’s relationship with some of those players.
Anthony Duruji is going to transfer from Louisiana Tech. Everyone else is in the middle of a re-tool or re-build.
The conference remains wide-open but that also means there does not look to be any great team that will make noise in the big tournament. At this level — and well, every level of this sport — there can be a frustrating tendency to only measure success by the results in March. That, as Jones said in his post-CUSA tournament press conference, is not a healthy way to analyze a program.