By: Lauren Rosenberg
Conference USA will look for an exciting basketball season between the 14 teams that make up the conference. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers are the favorites to win the conference due to their continuous winning records and NCAA tournament appearances.
The Blazers will want to keep their eyes on the University of North Texas Mean Green Eagles with their new updated roster with two transfer players, Shane Temara, small forward from Angelina, and Derail Green, small forward from Incarnate World, making their way into the Mean Green Eagles’ rotations. The addition of Green to UNT’s rotation gives UNT a solid, consistent scorer and rebounder as well as the addition of Temara who is a good rim protector and ranked 50th in blocked shots during his final season at Angelina Community College.
Expect the Rice University Owls to also keep the Blazers on their toes. With the Owl’s 2014-2015 leading scorer and guard Marcus Jackson coming back from injury that ended his season in 2015-2016, expect the Owls to be putting up some more competition to all of their competitors and improve from last season. Also with the addition of key freshman, Tim Harrison, expect the team’s statistics in points per game, overall defense, and three pointers to sky rocket. Harrison led Francis Park High School in points, rebounds, blocks, and three pointers made and was also named Most Valuable Player as a junior as well as other high honors in San Diego and California in all of his years in high school.
There are tons of new and exciting players throughout all of Conference USA but the player to watch is by far Rice University’s Guard Marcus Evans. As a Freshman, Evans started all 32 games for the Owls and was named First Team All-Conference USA, C-USA Freshman of the Year, as well as being named C-USA All Freshman and All Defensive teams. As a freshman, he led the league in steals while also producing double figure scoring in 31 out of the 32 possible games in the season. He proved to be a huge factor in the Owls’ system and expect him to play an even greater and extensive role and crush more records in his second year in the league as well as helping to climbs the Owls up the rankings in CUSA and beat out a ton of their conference foes.
Conference USA has been very one sided with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers leading them with being first for the past few years but one bold prediction is that the University of North Texas Mean Green Eagles will slide into first place in CUSA by beating out UAB by one single game. The Mean Green Eagles will split the series between them and the Blazers and the record of who the new power house will be in CUSA will be determined at the last game of the seasons with the Mean Green Eagles winning and the Blazers losing a nail biter and their reign on CUSA.
(Featured Image: Mark Craig, Flickr)