2008 Conference USA Championship Preview
On Wednesday the Conference USA conference tournament will get under way. Conference USA has flown under the radar for most of the year when you look at some of the teams that this conference can brag about. Everyone knows about Memphis and everything they have done this year with the bog loss to Tennessee and the constant high rankings in the polls but do you know any other teams that can impress in conference USA? You should. UAB leads the way with Tubby Smith at the helm and Houston and University of Central Florida are teams that can sneak up and bite someone in this crowded field.
The Favorite: This is another no brainer as the favorite for this tournament is the Memphis club that not only easily won the regular season but they host the conference tournament. To be the host team and the best team in the conference is going to be hard to beat and all of the other teams will not only have to bring their A game but they will have to have some luck on their side as well. The Dark Horses: To me there are only two really true dark horses in this tournament. The first is the University Alabama Birmingham Blazers. The Blazers are red hot and winning games left and right. They have won 14 in the last 18 and 20 of 26 headed into this tournament and have given Memphis a run for their money taking them to the last shot in the last meeting. When it comes to stats they are right behind Memphis in many categories and can make a run at them when they face them. The three seed Houston Cougars may have something to say about how this tournament ends. They are a 3 seed and went 11-5 in conference and before you say the conference is weak check out the RPI it’s not that bad. Houston and UAB are really the best options at upsetting Memphis in this tournament.
Don’t bet on it: Anyone but the three teams I already have talked about so far in this article. Keep in mind on any given day a team can surprise and the folks that are lower seeds can upset a few teams but don’t look for them to go deep and when it comes to betting futures they should not be on your short list. As a bettor know when it comes to anything else like betting them in one single game that will always be settled on a game by game basis.
And the winner is: University of Alabama Birmingham. The obvious choice is Memphis at home but the theory is this. Memphis almost lost to UAB and therefore the blazers match up well. They have double revenge and it is always hard to beat a team three straight times and Memphis may not take this tournament all that seriously. Finally the value on anyone else in this tournament is going to be high so why not take a team that has a chance.
Conference USA may not send a ton of teams to the big dance but the ones they do will be quality opposition for the rest of the field.
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