Photo via MTSU Athletics
While the C-USA basketball regular season continues to wind down, the race for a coveted first round bye in the C-USA Tournament continues to heat up. There are several teams battling it out to determine which four teams get a bye in the first round of the tournament and it will probably go down to the final night of action. Let’s take a look at the C-USA basketball top five power rankings for Feb. 21.
1) Middle Tennessee
The class of C-USA added to their already impressive resume this past week and the Blue Raiders of MTSU remain atop the C-USA basketball top five power rankings. MTSU rolled Western Kentucky on the road on Feb. 16 and followed it up with another impressive road win at Marshall on Saturday, securing season sweeps of both the Hilltoppers and the Herd. The Blue Raiders now sit at 24-4 overall and a resounding 14-1 in C-USA play, two games up on second place. MTSU’s lone game this week comes Sunday at UAB looking to clinch its third straight season sweep of a C-USA opponent. The Blue Raiders have been a juggernaut in C-USA play this season and will be very tough to beat as the C-USA Tournament inches closer and closer. MTSU keeps on rolling and maintains the top spot in the C-USA power rankings.
2) Louisiana Tech
LA Tech remains in the number two position in this week’s C-USA top five power rankings after an impressive week. The Bulldogs took care of business at home by blowing out Florida Atlantic on Feb. 16 and then another convincing home win against Florida International on Saturday. LA Tech has won six straight games and improves to 20-8 overall and 12-3 in C-USA play while staying within striking distance of first-place MTSU. The Bulldogs have two road games this week, first at North Texas Thursday night then at Rice Saturday night. LA Tech continues to improve as the season winds down and will be a tough out for anybody in C-USA once tournament time comes around. The Bulldogs keep on impressing and they check in at the number two spot in this week’s power rankings.
3) Old Dominion
The Monarchs maintain the number three spot in this week’s C-USA basketball top five power rankings after a dominating win this past week. ODU played just one game, but made it count by blowing out Charlotte at home on Saturday. The Monarchs have won five out of their last seven games and sit at 16-10 overall and 9-5 in C-USA play, good for a tie for third place and would currently own a first round bye in the C-USA Tournament if the season ended today. ODU now gears up for two home games this week beginning Thursday night against Marshall and concluding Saturday night against Western Kentucky. The Monarchs have put themselves in a great position to get a coveted first round bye in the upcoming C-USA Tournament and two wins this week would get them even closer to reaching that goal. ODU remains a threat among C-USA and holds steady in the number three position of the power rankings.
The Miners’ mid to late season resurgence earns them the number four position in this week’s C-USA top five power rankings. UTEP notched two road wins this past week including an overtime win at North Texas on Feb. 16 followed by another key road win at Rice on Saturday. The Miners have turned around a dismal 2-13 overall record to start the season and are winners of nine out of their last 11 games to hold an 11-15 overall record and 9-5 mark in C-USA play to sit in a tie for third place with ODU. UTEP will look to keep the momentum going with two road games this week at Florida Atlantic Thursday night and at Florida International Saturday night. The Miners have been the biggest surprise in C-USA this season and are in a great position to earn a first round bye in the upcoming C-USA Tournament if they continue to take care of business. UTEP, the only team to deal MTSU a loss in C-USA, continues to surprise C-USA and holds the number four spot in the power rankings.
The Thundering Herd of Marshall remains in the number five spot in this week’s C-USA basketball top five power rankings after splitting two games this past week. Marshall knocked off UAB at home on Feb. 16 for its first win over the Blazers since January of 2012, but fell victim to the Blue Raiders of MTSU at home on Saturday. The Herd currently sits at 15-12 overall and 8-6 in C-USA play while staying in contention for a first round bye in the C-USA Tournament. Marshall has two road games this week that could make or break its chances at that first round bye which begins Thursday night at ODU and concludes Saturday night at Charlotte. The Herd has had an up-and-down C-USA regular season so far, but it still can finish among the top four in the league with four games remaining. Marshall stays within striking distance of the upper echelon of C-USA and checks in at number five in this week’s top five power rankings.
C-USA Numbers 6-14
8) Western Kentucky
11) Florida Atlantic
12) Southern Miss
13) North Texas
14) Florida International