By: Chinmay Vaidya
The C-USA tournament is straightforward: winner gets the league’s only bid to the “Big Dance” UAB is the favorite as the regular-season champ with a 26-5 record, but don’t think the Blazers can afford to go down in the tournament. UAB has losses to Auburn and Illinois and those are RPI killers. There is an outside shot the Blazers sneak into the NCAA tournament if they get bounced in the C-USA tournament title game, but that is more likely to leave them out than in.
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will be the two challengers to UAB. The Blue Raiders went 21-9 on the year and finished second in C-USA with a 13-5 conference record. The Bulldogs went 23-9 on the year, but finished third in the conference. Middle Tennessee relies on a balanced scoring attack while Louisiana Tech features a dynamic scoring duo in Alex Hamilton and Erik McCree.
Look for two of these three teams to square off in the championship game for the automatic NCAA bid. Despite the best efforts of Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech, I think UAB will hold on for the NCAA bid. Right now, Joe Lunardi has UAB as a 14 seed playing a 3 seed West Virginia. UAB as a 14 seed squaring off against a 3 seed from the Big 12? That’s exactly where the Blazers want to be.