C-USA Championships Begin Wednesday
C-USA Championships To Be Held At The Star In Frisco
Women's Basketball Bracket
DENTON — With the Mean Green men and women’s basketball teams in the final week of the regular season, it means the 2018 Conference USA Basketball Championships Presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center are less than a week away.
The postseason conference tournament begins Wednesday, March 7 and for the first time will be held in North Texas’ backyard as the game’s will be played at the Ford Center and The Star in Frisco, home of the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility.
The four-day, 24-team, single elimination bracket tournament will have two games being played at a time all in the same location. The top-four seeds in the tournament earn a first round bye and will begin in the quarterfinals of the bracket on March 8.
The Championships feature a nationally ranked men’s program with recent NCAA Tournament success with a few of the nation’s top scoring offenses and defenses vying for a conference championship and a NCAA Tournament bid all tied in with the magic March brings.
All-session tickets for the C-USA Basketball Championships are still available.
Two different ticket options are available now for purchase. General Admission tickets are $125, while General Admission Premium tickets are $180. All pre-sale tickets provide access to all six sessions of the event. Single-session tickets will be available on Monday, March 5, following the release of the championship brackets.
Fans may purchase their all-session tickets here: C-USA Basketball Championships Pre-Sale Tickets
MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Three men’s teams have already clinched a top-four seed in Middle Tennessee (15-1), Western Kentucky (14-2) and Old Dominion (13-3). The last remaining bye will come down to Marshall (11-5) and UT-San Antonio (10-6).
Seven other teams will be heading to Frisco with UAB, North Texas, FIU, Southern Miss, LA Tech and Florida Atlantic clinching spots already. The last spot will come down to UTEP (5-11) and Rice (3-13), with the Owls having to win their last two games and UTEP to lose its final two games.
Middle Tennessee will be the favorites to cut down the nets for the third-straight season after another solid campaign where they’ve earned a No. 24 national ranking. The Blue Raiders only loss in conference play was a road defeat at Marshall 73-63 on Jan. 18. Middle Tennessee’s graduate transfer Nick King is the third leading scorer in the conference at 21.5 points per game.
Other top performers that fans will be able to watch are senior guard from Marshall Jon Elmore, who leads the league in scoring at 22.6 and in assists at 7.1 per game. Also from Marshall, junior guard C.J. Burks is second in scoring at 21.7 points per game. Mean Green sophomore Roosevelt Smart is fourth in the league in scoring at 18.8 points per game and leads the league with 104 three-pointers made.
Down low on the block, all four of the league’s top rebounders will be at the tournament in senior Justin Johnson from Western Kentucky, senior Chris Cokley from UAB, Ajdin Penava from Marshall and senior Ronald Delph from Florida Atlantic. Also the top five shot blockers will be on display in Penava, Delph, senior William Lee from UAB, Dwight Coleby from WKU and ODU’s Brandan Stith.
All 12 of the men’s teams entering postseason play have played at least one C-USA league game decided by five points or less. The Conference has seen seven games head into overtime with North Texas, FIU and Rice each playing two overtime games. FIU and North Texas have seen their fair share of close games having both suffered nine C-USA games decided by five points or less.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2017-18 C-USA women’s basketball season has been full of parity, Western Kentucky (12-2), the defending C-USA Tournament champions, and UAB (11-3) have both amassed 20 wins for the year and have been the top two teams all year, but they are not shoe-ins for the conference championship game.
Last week, the Lady Toppers and Blazers secured their spots atop the bracket but three schools are within an arm’s reach and have beaten WKU and UAB this season.
Rice (9-5) currently stands as the No. 3 seed and defeated WKU by 15 points in early February. Louisiana Tech (9-6) is a half of a game behind the Owls and just last weekend beat the Blazers by 10 points in Birmingham, Alabama.
The conference race gets even tighter in spots 7-12 where the six teams are only separated by one game headed into the final weekend of the regular season. North Texas (6-8) is tied for the seventh spot in the standings with Southern Miss, Florida Atlantic and Old Dominion, however, the Mean Green have the tiebreaker over all three of those schools.
This weekend, UNT has the opportunity to gain some serious momentum as they conclude the regular season against UAB and on the road at Rice.
The Mean Green’s Terriell Bradley has been one of the conference’s best players all season. Her 21.5-point per game average in conference play ranks second and her 51.4 3-point field goal percentage ranks first.
WKU’s Tashia Brown leads the conference by averaging 23 points per game while her teammate, Ivy Brown, is the conference’s top rebounder, averaging 9.9 per game.
Two of the nation’s best defenses reside in C-USA. North Texas ranks No. 12 and Middle Tennessee ranks No. 26. The Blue Raiders were the preseason favorite to win the conference but have dealt with injuries, most notably to their conference preseason player of the year winner Alex Johnson. She has however returned and Middle Tennessee sits in fifth-place with a 9-6 conference record.
The Blazers are one of the nation’s top 3-point shooting teams, making them at a clip of 39.9 percent. But UAB isn’t just a shooting team. They are led by their point guard Miyah Barnes, who as just as a sophomore has guided UAB to one of its best seasons in school history.
Other players to watch will be Rice’s 5-foot-8 guard Erica Ogwumike, who is nearly averaging a double-double and has had multiple 15 plus rebound performances and averages 17 points per game.
UTEP’s post, Tamara Seda and Florida Atlantic’s Sasha Cedeno are also almost averaging double-doubles.
The tournament will begin with a combined 16 games in the first two days, starting on Wednesday the No. 8 seeds facing the No. 9 seeds.
For those who can’t attend, all first round games will be aired live on Facebook while a couple of the men’s quarterfinal games will be aired on Stadium/Twitter.
The men’s semifinal games will be aired on CBS Sports and both the men and women’s championship games will be aired on CBS Sports.