Bill Haisten's Conference USA Insider
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1/16/13 at 4:40 AM
Memphis: With a six-game win streak and records of 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the league, Memphis is on a roll. The Tigers are destined to be 3-0 as they visit woeful Rice on Wednesday. With last week's home victory over East Carolina, Memphis became the first Conference USA program to record 200 league victories.
Southern Miss: Memphis has Conference USA's highest RPI standing at No. 51. Checking in at No. 52 - the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. During last week's 75-52 victory over Rice, the Golden Eagles set a program record by shooting 70 percent from the field (32-of-46). In what should be a really interesting contest, Southern Miss visits SMU on Wednesday.
UAB: Having followed a 16-point loss at Central Florida with a 16-point loss to Memphis, the Blazers are 8-9 overall, 0-2 in C-USA. The Memphis defeat ended UAB's 11-game home winning streak. The schedule doesn't get any easier as the Blazers visit Southern Miss on Saturday.
From an RPI standpoint, last week's blowout loss at Marshall was expensive for the Golden Hurricane. Before that game, Tulsa was 107th in the RPI. Now, the Hurricane is 132nd. Marshall is 240th. Without injured forwards Rashad Smith and D'Andre Wright, can TU compete with the top-tier teams in the conference? When UTEP visits on Wednesday, TU faces its toughest C-USA opponent thus far.
News and notes
National status: Three Conference USA players rank among the national top 10 in three statistical categories.
Central Florida's Keith Clanton is seventh in field-goal percentage at .634, while Houston's Joseph Young is sixth in free-throw percentage (.931) and Marshall's DeAndre Kane is fifth in assists (7.6 per game).
Houston slammed: Against visiting Houston last week, Southern Miss closed the first half with a 25-2 run. The Golden Eagles went on to record their 21st consecutive home victory.
Three days earlier - in its C-USA opener against Rice - Southern Miss shot a program-record 70 percent from the field (32-of-46).
Marshall comparison: At Marshall last week, the University of Tulsa was flattened by a 19-0, first-half run by the Thundering Herd. Marshall connected on seven first-half 3-pointers, led by 23 points at halftime and wound up with a 79-61 victory.
Marshall followed that game with a trip to UTEP and lost 74-63. The Miners led by as many as 20 points. UTEP visits Tulsa on Wednesday.
Weekly honors: The Conference USA player of the week is Central Florida senior forward Keith Clanton, who scored a career-high 36 points against East Carolina. Against the Pirates, he was 15-of-19 on shots from the field. Against UAB, Clanton totaled 12 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
The league's freshman of the week is Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin, who in two conference victories averaged 11.0 points and 5.5 rebounds. During the final eight minutes of Memphis' win over East Carolina, he had five points and four rebounds.
1. Memphis: Average attendance for home games is 16,031. That's nearly double the next-best average in Conference USA.
2. Southern Miss: Roster includes players from Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Illinois and Kansas.
3. UTEP: Tim Floyd-coached Miners completed nonconference schedule on Monday, recording a 72-44 victory over Houston Baptist.
4. East Carolina: At 78.1 points per game, Pirates have supplanted Houston as Conference USA's highest-scoring team.
5. Central Florida: Senior Keith Clanton is savoring a great season - he leads C-USA in scoring (17.8) and field-goal percentage (.634).
6. Tulsa: In the last 17 TU-UTEP games played in Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane has prevailed 13 times.
7. SMU: Against Southern Miss (Wednesday's opponent), the Mustangs haven't lost on their home floor since 2007.
8. UAB: After the Memphis setback extended his team's losing streak to three, Blazer coach Jerod Haase said, "Our team in the locker room is struggling right now."
9. Tulane: In losing at SMU, the Green Wave shot only 32 percent from the field while committing 21 turnovers.
10. Houston: During a 19-point defeat at Southern Miss, the Cougars were doomed by lousy shooting - 4-of-25 on 3-point attempts.
11. Marshall: Thundering Herd followed its dominant performance against TU with an 11-point setback at UTEP.
12. Rice: During the first half at Tulsa, the Owls had a 10-point lead. During the game's final 5:47, Rice was outscored 17-2.
Original Print Headline: Bill Haisten's C-USA Insider
GAME OF THE WEEK
UTEP at Tulsa, 7 p.m., Wednesday
Don't be fooled by the Miners' overall record of 9-6. UTEP played a difficult nonconference schedule and may emerge as Memphis' No. 1 challenger in the Conference USA race. If the Golden Hurricane has any chance of being a factor in the upper half of the standings, TU must win home games like this one.
Memphis' Shaq Goodwin drives to the basket after being fouled by East Carolina's Ty Armstrong last week in Memphis, Tenn. MARK WEBER / The Commercial Appeal / AP