CUSA Men Stumble in Post Season
Do you ever wonder why a conference such as Conference USA gets no respect? The answer to that question is simple. Your teams must be able to win games in the post season. A win against a team from the so called “Big Conferences” is where you earn respect. Winning a game in any tournament as the favorite also helps too.
For teams from Conference USA, Southern Miss, Memphis, Marshall, and Central Florida, had an opportunity to bring respect to Conference USA in tournament play. All four teams went one and done in their respective tournament. For Memphis and Central Florida the sting does not hurt as bad, because both of those schools are going to be done with Conference USA in another year. For Southern Miss and Marshall the pain of being in the land of no respect lingers on.
Marshall and Central Florida both went to the NIT tournament. Central Florida got hammered by Drexel in Philadelphia 81 – 56. The Dragons had something to prove and UCF was the victim of Drexel proving their point. With the score at 11 – 9 Drexel used a 21 – 7 run over the next 8 minutes to pull ahead 32 – 16. UCF got within 10 points of Drexel before trailing 24 – 37 at halftime. The Knights never got any closer than 10 points of the Dragons. At the 6 minute mark of the game Drexel started to build a mountain of a lead and it was all over from there for UCF.
Marshall traveled to Murfreesboro, TN to take on Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders got out to a quick 17 – 7 lead and never looked back. Middle Tennessee led by 9 at the half, but within the first minute of the second half the lead was only 5. Middle Tennessee would then use a 21 – 11 run to pull ahead 60 – 45. The lead grew to 20 before Marshall made a valiant attempt at a win, but they fell short 78 – 86.
Southern Miss entered the NCAA Tournament as an At-Large team. Southern Miss was the 9 th seed in the East Region facing Kansas St. With the world as an audience USM had the opportunity to shock everyone, but it was not the case. KSU stormed out to a 21 -12 lead before USM tied the game at 25-25. KSU led by 3 at halftime. Southern Miss led by 5 at the 13:16 mark. Kansas State finished the game by outscoring USM 30 – 19 in the last 13:16 in the game.
Of all of the CUSA teams Memphis has the most to lose. The Tigers known for their athleticism and explosiveness were shut down by dominant St Louis defense. Memphis shot a pitiful 38.9% from the field and 58.8% on 10-17 at the free throw line. Memphis was never able to run on St Louis as the Bilikins got back on defense quickly on each missed shot.
The disrespect continues on for CUSA. Respect is earned and CUSA did not earn one bit of it this past week. Better luck next year CUSA in what may be the final year for CUSA.