C-USA Tournament Preview

Frank Burlison previews the 2005 Kelly Tires Conference USA Tournament that begins today at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee.

Conference USA Tournament
At Memphis (FedExForum)
Regular-season champion:
Louisville (14-2)
Wednesday schedule: TCU vs. Marquette; DePaul vs. Tulane; Saint Louis vs. Memphis; Houston vs. South Florida. Thursday quarterfinals: Louisville vs. TCU/Marquette winner; Alabama-Birmingham vs. DePaul/Tulane winner; Charlotte vs. Saint Louis/Memphis winner; Cincinnati vs. Houston/South Florida winner.
Best potential non-championship matchup: Memphis vs. Charlotte (quarterfinal).
Keep this in mind: Charlotte came into Louisville last week tied with the Cardinals for the conference lead and promptly lost that one and then was stunned in its finale at South Florida. ... Louisville is among the most sizzling teams in the country with 15 victories in its past 16 games.
Player to check out: Memphis freshman guard Darius Washington Jr. He's as dynamic a player as there is in this field and the Tigers will need four great days out of him to capture the tourney title and secure a spot in the NCAA field. Projected tournament winner: Louisville over Memphis. And then the Tigers do some serious sweating on Sunday waiting for the CBS Selection Show.
At-large Land: The Cardinals, Cincinnati, Charlotte have no concerns if they stumble early in Memphis. DePaul and Alabama-Birmingham (which could meet in quarterfinals Thursday) need at least one win apiece, it seems.

Recently elected to the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert and also covers college basketball for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com.

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