LOUISIANA TECH at UAB, 4:00 PM Eastern, No TV
11 conferences have completed their regular seasons so far, and two more (America East and Metro Atlantic) will join that list today. Conference tournaments tip off tomorrow with the first round of the Patriot League (weather permitting). For all your information on conference tournament brackets and the HoopsHD Tournament Survival Board, follow this link:
Despite these 13 conferences that have ended or will end today, regular season play continues this week in the remaining 19 leagues. Today’s SCGD comes from a conference that admittedly does not qualify as a true “small conference”, but is a single bid league this year in all likelihood. Today we head to Birmingham, Alabama for a Conference USA matchup between the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the UAB Blazers.
Louisiana Tech enters today’s game in a four way tie in the loss column for first place in CUSA. Middle Tennessee currently holds a half game lead overall at 12-3, with the Bulldogs, Southern Miss and Tulsa all sitting at 11-3. UTEP, who will host the conference tournament, is only a game behind that group at 10-4. Overall La Tech sits at 23-6 on the season with a very strong road win at Oklahoma on their resume. A loss last week at East Carolina has, however, probably destroyed any chance of an at-large bid if they do not win the CUSA tournament. Louisiana Tech had been playing the last 6+ weeks without their star player, Raheem Appleby, but he did return last game out, playing five minutes against Middle Tennessee. If he can get more time and begin to return to form in their final three games before the conference tournament, the Bulldogs will clearly be the team to beat.
UAB is currently in 8th place in the 16 team conference at 8-8, while sitting at 18-10 overall. The Blazers have shown an ability to beat very good teams this year, including holding wins over North Carolina, Southern Miss and Nebraska. They have also shown an ability to lose to bad teams, with six RPI sub-150 losses including defeats to teams such as Florida International, North Texas and Tulane. One thing the Blazers do have going for them today — they have never lost to Louisiana Tech, holding an all-time record of 4-0 against the Bulldogs. They will try to make it 5-0 today and in the process perhaps keep La Tech from winning the Conference USA regular season title.