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2022 Conference USA Tournament: Day 2 Recap

FRISCO, TX — The night ended with a cold breeze. A couple of young guys were playing basketball on the Fan Fest courts as a man in a truck filled with gardening equipment drove past on Cowboy Way holding up a bluetooth audio player blasting Hellfire and Brimstone preaching. That it was happening as convention-goers, band members, and random media people from online-only outlets like yours truly were ambling about the newly build Dallas suburb, was unsurprising. Welcome to Texas.

If there is any town in Texas wear faking it to make it is praised, it is Dallas. At brunch1 a woman who claimed to be mistaken for a person in her mid-thirties (she’s actually 46) stopped me to praise my children, and to tell her life story. She was in-between mimosas. One anecdote: the benefits of plastic surgery. She recommends it.

Welcome to Dallas. And to Frisco. The teams faking in the Second Round were all soundly beaten by actual good teams. Fake it, but sometimes you won’t make it.

FAU 86 USM 59

This got ugly late, but it was always coming as Tyler Stevenson, USM’s best player, was working hard but not getting luck. FAU was up early, and hadn’t got settled yet. Dusty May, FAU head coach, said “teams that have played have an advantage early” and he felt good that they hadn’t got to stretch out just yet and were already up. Lot of misses, and lots of frustration ensued.

For USM, the next season will be in the Sun Belt. Stevenson is good, Napper, Moore, Pierre all have room to grow. This team needs more luck, and to come together.

FAU moves on, and basically did not have to exert much effort. The bigs were too much for USM and the ball was moving quickly. May said they learned after North Texas chased them off the line that they needed to get better at attacking. That will be huge as UAB’s monster defense is next.

UTEP 74-ODU 64

UTEP played with swagger and confidence from the start. Keonte Kennedy hit a bunch of threes, and after his first, he looked at the crowd. There were smiles and laughs for the Miners, with a big crowd supporting them. This was all in the first 10-minutes. ODU struggled for any and everything, and both squads were happy to be physical with each other. Only UTEP had Souley Boum, and his silky scoring ability, however. One Miner band member upon seeing ODU’s Jaylin Hunter shoot his straight-line jumper: “that’s and ugly shot.” Well, it certainly isn’t pretty and it also hit the back rim far to often to be effective. The late run by the Monarchs made the scoreline respectable but it was a blowout.

LA Tech 77 Marshall 64

It was 44-43 and then suddenly it was 45-56 after an 11-0 run. Marshall couldn’t get the buckets, luck, or calls they desperately asked for, while La Tech took full advantage of every mistake to get buckets and celebrate. Marshall’s Andrew Taylor threw a pass to the ref, no one noticed, and Tech’s David Green scooped it. Dan D’Antoni screamed “DAMMIT” and called time. That was essentially the game.

Marshall also goes to the Sun Belt where “we don’t know the quality of play yet. But this year in CUSA was the best of my eight years. Strong, good teams, good coaches”. (more here)

Louisiana Tech was unflustered by the calls, even if Konkol had to admonish Lofton “He didn’t like the one thing I did”. Marshall tried a few things vs Lofton with some success early, bringing over help when he turned. Later on, it was bully ball time vs Beyers when Marshall absolutely needed stops. Marshall’s lack of depth, and poor execution were on display thanks to Tech’s machine-like ability to take full advantage of any mistake. Too many guys on Tech — Archibald, Willis, Stewart, Green — were able to get the ball and go score. Meanwhile, like, one guy was able to do that for MU.

Rice 73 Charlotte 61

CLT tried a little bully-ball on the slight Rice guards with some success early, but Jahmir Young was bottled up and Rice executed their game plan well. “He’s a great player but we did a good job on him” said Pera. They kept him out of the lane, and stayed home on the Charlotte shooters. To be fair, the Niners had their looks, but couldn’t make them. There were too many mistakes as well, as Cannon and Braswell ran into each other once. They both pleaded their case to an unconvinced Sanchez. Meanwhile, Rice was running the CLT bigs ragged with the slicing pick and rolls.

Rice big man Poteat also was huge, with 9 big points attacking the CLT big men. Charlotte couldn’t find the side of the Ford Center, and that was that. Rice executed and made shots, Charlotte executed but could not.

  1. shut up. I had brunch

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