Does Thursday represent Conference USA's "last stand" in regards to possibly avoiding the fate of being a one-bid league? Probably not but an upset by Tulsa at Duke would go a long way in giving the conference at least two bids. The Golden Hurricane can give the Blue Devils some trouble inside due to the presence of an NBA-caliber big man in senior Jerome Jordan. Going up against an improving Brian Zoubek will be quiet the physical test for Jordan, but with him already taking on the likes of Marshall's Hassan Whiteside and UTEP's Derrick Caracter he should be more than ready for Duke. But how will the Marshall backcourt fare against the trio of Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith?
Ben Uzoh is Tulsa's leading scorer but despite him scoring at least twenty points in each of their last three games but due to a lack of consistent help from the supporting cast the Golden Hurricane have dropped their last three. It's tough to pinpoint one particular issue in Tulsa's current three-game skid; when they've scored they haven't defended (losses to Memphis and UTEP) and when they have defended they haven't scored. For them this is more about getting things right before the Conference USA Tournament at BOK Arena in Tulsa. Duke, on the other hand, has a game that while not as lucrative (in regards to computer numbers) represents one more step towards a possible one-seed.
South Carolina looks to resuscitate NCAA Tournament hopes that aren't even hanging by a thread at this point. But should they find a way to complete the season sweep of Kentucky at Rupp Arena, Devan Downey and company would force their way back into the conversation. But he'll go up against a team that should be more than ready for him this time around. As for an under the radar game how about Ohio Valley regular season champ Murray State, winners of seventeen straight, visiting the defending OVC tourney champ (Morehead State) in what could be the second of three meetings this season. Six Racers average at least 9.5 ppg for Billy Kennedy, but they need to be ready for a home team ripe for revenge. Murray won the first meeting (December 5th) by 30 and hit 57.6% of their shots in the process.
7p ESPN2 Tulsa at Duke
7p ESPN Iowa at Northwestern
7p ESPNU Georgia at Vanderbilt
9p ESPN2 South Carolina at Kentucky
9p ESPN Arizona at California
9p BTN Wisconsin at Indina
11p ESPN2 Santa Clara at Gonzaga
11p ESPNU Loyola Marymount at San Diego
11p FSN Oregon St at UCLA
7p Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic
7p Charleston at Wofford
7:15p Campbell at Jacksonville
7:30p Saint Francis (PA) at Mount St. Mary's
8p UL Lafayette at North Texas
8p Murray St at Morehead St
8:15p Mercer at Belmont
10p San Francisco at Portland
California over Arizona: The young Wildcats may have three conference road wins but they're visiting a team that's 6-1 in Pac-10 home games this season. Look for Jerome Randle to win the individual matchup with Nic Wise and move the Golden Bears one step closer to a Pac-10 title. Cal by six.