Week 5 of CUSA play continues with six games on Thursday and Saturday and one game on Sunday.
Charlotte (3-4) @ FIU (5-2)
If you like post play you’ll love this game. The match will feature two high level senior centers in Charlotte’s Uchebo and FIU’s Diaz. However, I think the game will be decided behind the arc. The 49ers have converted 20 three-pointers over the last two games. Charlotte will push their win streak to three and will look for a road sweep come Saturday at FAU.
ODU (3-4) @ FAU (3-4)
I didn’t give FAU a chance on the road at UTSA and UTEP last week. Much to my surprise, the Owls are getting off to a decent start in conference play. ODU is coming off of a heart-breaking loss at home to Marshall last Saturday. FAU is 2-0 at home in conference play but I don’t see them overcoming an experienced ODU squad who will be looking to maintain their position in the top half of the league.
MTSU (6-1) @ Marshall (6-1)
This is the marquee game of the Thursday night matches. Few expected Marshall to get off to such a hot start in conference play. The Herd are in for a bit of a reality check with Middle Tennessee State and UAB coming into town this week. The inside/outside game of Potts and Upshaw is running like a well oiled machine for the Blue Raiders. Like most Marshall games, expect both of these teams to score in the 80’s and 90’s. I think Middle will squeak by late or possibly even in overtime.
UTSA (2-5) @ La Tech (3-3)
The Bulldogs we’re taken out of the spotlight in week 3 with road losses against FIU and FAU. La Tech only played one game last week, which was a win on the road at Southern Miss on Saturday. A home sweep of UTSA and UTEP will put Coach Konkol’s team back on the right track.
UAB (7-0) @ WKU (2-5)
The Blazers boast a 5-1 road record this season, which is tied for sixth best in the country. UAB and Western share a rich history and I’d expect another classic is in store Thursday night. UAB will prevail on the road, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it be a one or two possession game late.
UTEP (3-4) @ Southern Miss (2-4)
Losers of four of their last five, the Miners are in serious jeopardy of squandering their position in the top half of the conference. Southern Miss has been a surprise with impressive wins over ODU and FIU. I think the Miners will come out strong this week with a win at Haddiesburg and shift their sights to Coach Floyd’s Alma mater, Louisiana Tech.
- Home Teams — 1 Win
- Road Teams — 5 Wins
UAB @ Marshall *CUSA GAME OF THE WEEK*
For the second week in a row, Marshall is playing in one of the more consequential CUSA games. The Herd hosts UAB and Middle Tennessee who are a combined 4-1 on the road through three weeks of CUSA play. The matchup of senior forward James Kelly and sophomore forward William Lee will be one of the most exciting of the season. Being that it’s a road game for UAB, I’d say it’s virtually a toss up. I’m going to stick with the Blazers until I’ve been shown there is a formidable opponent in CUSA.
Charlotte @ FAU
ODU @ FIU
The Monarchs had won 32 home games in a row before dropping three of the last four. The road has not been particularly kind either for ODU yielding a 1-5 record. If any team can overcome these deficiencies its the Monarchs who are led by senior guard Trey Freeman. Freeman is averaging 26 PPG in CUSA play. I expect a strong performance from the senior on the road this week and ODU will return to Norfolk with a road sweep in Florida.
North Texas @ Rice
The two teams will not play on Thursday and it’s much needed after both were pushed around at UAB and Middle Tennessee. Both teams will be looking for a win to remove themselves from the bottom of the league. I think this game will come down to Rice’s ability to outscore North Texas. The Owls were able to score more than 70 in both road games last weekend. The Mean Green failed to break 64.
UTSA @ Southern Miss
I made the mistake of assuming UTSA had turned the corner going into the week 4 games. The Roadrunners were swept at home by the Florida teams. Southern Miss has proven they can beat some of the upper echelon CUSA teams at home and on the road. I’m going to give Southern Miss the home edge, but don’t be shocked if UTSA makes it a close game.
MTSU @ WKU
Like UAB, I’m going to continue to pick the Blue Raiders until I’ve see them lose. The Hilltoppers are in serious jeopardy of losing consecutive conference home games for the first time as CUSA members.
UTEP @ La Tech
I don’t see the Bulldogs dropping another game at home until UAB comes to town in February. This match will feature some of the most athletic wing players in the conference. Alex Hamilton could shorten the gap between he and Marshall’s James Kelly for CUSA POY with two big performances at home.
- Home Teams — 3 Wins
- Road Teams — 4 Wins