The winter storm that passed through Texas and really the entire country threw a wrench in things. People died, literally freezing to death in their homes and some Texans are still without some combination of power and water as of this writing. That combined with the milestone 500,00th COVID death as we enter the year anniversary of sports shutting down has really put a damper on the sporting coverage here at CUSA Report.
Your favorite CUSA Report writer was without power and water for a few days, but was otherwise safe and warm and there are no complaints.
The crisis in North Texas prevented WKU from traveling and playing the big matchup we looked forward to. NT vs WKU was one of the bigger series to be played this regular season and the hope was that it would near the levels of excitement we saw in the pod play matchup last year.
Instead, NT is relatively untested in conference play (9th in strength of schedule) and Marshall will host the Mean Green this coming weekend. WKU will play at Houston, in an effort to pad the resume a bit. ODU split with UAB and we have a renewed sense of respect for the Monarchs and perhaps a lesser view of UAB than we did when they were beating up on the bottom half of the standings.
Here is the standings, courtesy of the league website:
Here is your rough guide of each of the teams starting in the East. Teams in bold have a really good chance to win the title.
- WKU — Good, talented (Charles Bassey), and expected to win the league
- ODU — Tough, as usual, probably does not have enough offense to win the tournament
- Marshall — Good, defense is shaky, but has played a tough league schedule and showed they can beat anyone
- Charlotte — fool’s gold. Jahmir Young is a baller though
- FAU — Offense was fun for a bit. Not good enough
- Middle — Nah
- FIU — Teams are pencilling in wins when they see the Panthers on the schedule.
Here is the West:
- NT — Good squad, were hitting a stride before WKU series was cancelled. Haven’t played WKU, Marshall, UAB
- UAB — Looked good but La Tech punched them in the mouth and now ODU beat them.
- La Tech — Best team not topping the standings right now. Wouldn’t be surprised in the least if they hoist the trophy. Great defense, size, enough scoring talent to beat anyone handily.
- UTSA — Fun to watch Jackson/Wallace score. That’s about it
- Rice — Best team that is not good enough to win. Fun and talented, tough schedule make them look worse than they are.
- UTEP — Should have been better. Talented. Could pull an upset just based on ability.
- Southern Miss — Tyler Stevenson is talented, but this team is too young right now.
Before you kill me with some ODU or UAB comments, let us put down in writing they have the materials to win the tournament. They do not have major flaws like UTSA, UTEP and the like. Also, WKU, NT, Marshall, and Tech all have one or two things that stand out as weaknesses but their strengths are so, well, strong that it would take a really good team to exploit those.
That is one reason why all of the games between the good teams in the league have been so entertaining. We saw WKU bully ball everyone … except Tech. We saw the ferocious defense of the Bulldogs dominate and frustrate everyone … except when NT was getting nice buckets from their stars. We saw Marshall score easy buckets .. except against Tech and WKU. And so on. We should see another good series this weekend between NT and the Herd.
The only negative of having these teams int he tournament is that it isn’t a round-robin scenario. I think we could play the tournament a few times and get a different winner every time. That is, of course, the fun of college basketball. You do not play a seven-game series, you play a one-and-done tournament.
Here is hoping we actually see it happen.
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