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Sunday, March 04, 2007

C-USA Tournament Pairing Set, Memphis Plays 6 pm Thurs vs. UAB/Marshall Winner

C-USA Men's Basketball Championship Pairings Set
Memphis, UCF, Houston and Tulane Earn First Round Byes

March 3, 2007

Regular season champion Memphis will be the No. 1 seed at the 2007 Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship presented by AĆ©ropostale, March 7-10 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. The Tigers, ranked No. 6 in the nation by the Associated Press, enter the conference tournament as the No.1 seed, riding a 19-game win streak - the longest in Division I this season.

As the top seed, Memphis will have a first-round bye at the tournament. Other teams receiving first-round byes include No. 2 UCF, No. 3 Houston and No. 4 Tulane. Wednesday's first round match-ups feature: No. 7 Rice vs. No. 10 UTEP at Noon, No. 6 Southern Miss vs. No. 11 SMU at 2:30 p.m., No. 8 Marshall vs. No. 9 UAB at 6 p.m., and No. 5 Tulsa vs. No. 12 East Carolina at 8:30 p.m. CT.

In Thursday's quarterfinal round, No. 2 UCF will take on the winner of the Rice-UTEP game at Noon and No. 3 Houston will face the winner of the Southern Miss-SMU match-up beginning at 2:30 p.m. No. 1 seed Memphis will take on the winner of the Marshall-UAB game at 6 p.m., while No. 4 seed Tulane will close out Thursday night against the winner of the Tulsa-East Carolina contest at 8:30 p.m.

The tournament will get underway on Wednesday when Rice and UTEP renew their rivalry. The Owls are led by senior guard Morris Almond, the league's leading scorer, who set a new conference record for points in a season (772). The Miners trip to FedExForum marks the return of former University of Memphis assistant coach Tony Barbee, now leading UTEP in his first season as head coach. The Owls won the regular season meeting between the schools, 73-67, on Jan. 24.

A pair of former National Coaches of the Year square off in the second game on Wednesday as Larry Eustachy leads his resurgent Southern Miss Golden Eagles against Matt Doherty and his SMU Mustangs. Southern Miss has posted its first winning season since the 2000-01 Golden Eagles shared the regular season Conference USA crown. Southern Miss won the regular season meeting between the teams, 57-56, in the conference-opener for both schools on Jan. 10.

Marshall and UAB will be meeting for the third time this season. Both schools won on their home court, with Marshall taking a 61-54 decision in Huntington on Feb. 3, while UAB posted a 70-57 victory on Feb. 24. UAB senior guard Paul Delaney III and Marshall sophomore forward Markel Humphrey both rank among the top 10 scorers in Conference USA.

Under the direction of second-year head coach Doug Wojcik, Tulsa has improved its victory total by seven games from last year as its gets set to face East Carolina in the final opening round game on Wednesday. The Golden Hurricane won the only regular season meeting between the teams, 67-49, on Jan. 10 in the opening C-USA game for both schools.

Memphis is the defending tournament champion and enters the championship on a 29-game home court winning streak, second only to BYU's current 31-game streak at home. UCF will open championship action having assured itself of 20 or more wins for the fourth time in five years. Houston earned an opening round bye for the second year in a row as it seeks a second straight postseason berth. This is Tulane's highest seed since the 2000 C-USA Championship, when the Green Wave was also slotted in at the No. 4 spot.

All games will be played at FedExForum, the state-of-the-art arena in downtown Memphis. Quarterfinal and semifinal games will be televised by CSTV. The championship game on Saturday will be broadcasted on CBS, beginning at 10:35 a.m. (CST). For ticket information, please contact your local Conference USA school's ticket office, the FedExForum box office or Ticketmaster.

2007 C-USA Championship Presented by AĆ©ropostale

FedExForum, Memphis, Tenn.

Wednesday, March 7

(7) Rice vs. (10) UTEP Noon

(6) Southern Miss vs. (11) SMU 2:30p

(8) Marshall vs. (9) UAB 6:00p

(5) Tulsa vs. (12) East Carolina 8:30p

Thursday, March 8

(2) UCF vs. Rice/UTEP (CSTV) Noon

(3) Houston vs. No. Southern Miss/SMU (CSTV) 2:30p

(1) Memphis vs. Marshall/UAB (CSTV) 6:00p

(4) Tulane vs. Tulsa/East Carolina (CSTV) 8:30p

Friday, March 9

*Semifinal # 1 (CSTV) 3:30p

*Semifinal # 2 (CSTV) 6:00p

Saturday, March 10

Championship (CBS) 10:35a

*highest remaining seed entering the semifinals will play at 3:30 p.m.

All Times Central

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