CHARLOTTE (5-6, 0-0): Coming off a six-day layoff in which the 49ers were smoked by Louisiana-Lafayette, Charlotte took their team to Assembly Hall in Bloomington last Saturday for a game against the Indiana Hoosiers. The niners kept the game close throughout until finally succumbing to an 11-4 Hoosier run late in the game, and fell 70-60. Charlotte needs to do well in conference play this season in order to return to the NCAA Tournament , as their only non-conference game left is in early February against Valparaiso. This week, the 49ers host Louisville on Wednesday and East Carolina on Sunday to start their C-USA season.
CINCINNATI (7-3, 0-0): In their final non-conference tune-up, the Bearcats hosted Chattanooga, playing their first road game in a month. Cincinnati forced 31 turnovers, the most in 8 seasons, in an 81-51 pounding of the Mocs. In his first career start, freshman guard CHADD MOORE scored 12 points and dished out a game-high 8 assists in the win. This week, UC starts the course for their 8th straight Conference USA Regular Season Championship by hosting DePaul on Wednesday and traveling to TCU for a Saturday evening showdown.
DEPAUL (8-2, 0-0): On Tuesday, the Blue Demons hosted the Catamounts of Western Carolina. In the 82-62 win, forward QUEMONT GREER tallied 17 points and 7 rebounds, both being team highs. DePaul then hosted Loyola-Chicago on Thursday in the Allstate Arena. Trailing 43-40 at the half, the Demons rallied behind guard JOE TULLEY and his 21 second half points in a 95-74 victory over the Ramblers. Now with their best start in 9 seasons, DePaul starts conference play this week at Cincinnati on Wednesday and finishes the non-conference schedule on Saturday against UNLV.
EAST CAROLINA (10-2, 1-0): In what was the most exciting game of the week, the Pirates pulled out a big win against 9th-ranked Marquette on Monday, winning 73-70. Forward GABRIEL MIKULAS came up huge, scoring 22 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in the first sellout at Minges Coliseum in nearly 33 years. ECU came back to the court on Thursday as they took out UNC Pembroke 93-47, allowing only 13 first-half points for the Braves. All 11 Pirates that dressed scored at least 4 points in the win. ECU now travels to Charlotte on Saturday in what should be one of the week's best conference games.
LOUISVILLE (8-1, 0-0): A week after beating archrival Kentucky, the Cardinals traveled to Columbus last Saturday to take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State. In a defensive struggle in which UofL scored a season-low 18 first-half points, the Cards rallied in the second half to force overtime, and eventually took out their Big Ten counterpart 72-64. Junior guard BRYANT NORTHERN had 18 points, including hitting 5-6 free throws in the final minute of overtime to seal the win. Moving up in the polls, Louisville starts their conference schedule this Wednesday as they travel to Charlotte and come back home on Saturday afternoon for a game against Saint Louis.
MARQUETTE (8-3, 0-1): Marquette started their three-game road trip last Monday against a tough East Carolina team to kickoff the C-USA season. In a back-and-forth game, junior DWYANE WADE missed a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the ECU fans rushed the court in a 73-70 loss. On Saturday, the Golden Eagles looked to avenge their loss against the Flyers of Dayton. Marquette fell again, this time in overtime, 92-85. The Eagles dropped to 0-3 on the road this season, and likely out of the polls. On Tuesday, MU finishes the road trip against Saint Louis before returning home to face South Florida on Saturday.
SAINT LOUIS (6-5, 0-0): On Thursday, the Billikens traveled to Manhattan, KS to face Kansas State. SLU was taken out 65-48 in a game where they never came within five points after a 9-2 opening run by the Wildcats. Coming back home on Saturday, the Billikens ripped West Virginia 75-45 on a night where senior guard MARQUE PERRY passed the 1,000-point mark for his career. Sophomore forward IZIK OHANON led the Bills with 18 points in the contest. This week, SLU hosts Marquette on Tuesday and travels to Louisville on Saturday to open their league schedule.
ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM (8-3, 0-0): In the Blazers final non-conference game of the season on Thursday, UAB hosted the 10th-ranked Bulldogs of Mississippi State. Though the Blazers forced 23 Bulldog turnovers, they fell 68-52. Coach MIKE ANDERSON praised his team's heart, and said MSU's depth killed them the most. The Blazers start the C-USA season Wednesday at South Florida and travel to Houston on Saturday night.
HOUSTON (2-8, 0-0): On New Year's Day, the Cougars made the quick trip to Lubbock, TX to take on the 22nd-ranked Texas Tech squad. LOUIS TRUSCOTT had his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, but the Red Raiders prevailed in a 62-48 decision. Coming back home on Saturday, the Cougars faced Louisiana-Lafayette. Truscott led with 17 points, but UH was out-rebounded 59-37 and lost the game 72-56. On Wednesday, Houston visits Louisiana State of the SEC, still looking for a credible road win this season.
MEMPHIS (9-2, 0-0): The Tigers finished their non-conference schedule quickly with three games last week. On Monday, Murray State made the trip to the Pyramid and Memphis center CHRIS MASSIE sent the Racers on their way in a 67-60 game in which Massie scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. On Thursday, the Tigers traveled to Fayetteville to face archrival Arkansas. Sophomore guard BILLY RICHMOND sealed the deal for Memphis by hitting 6 free throws in the final 21 seconds in a 72-67 victory. On Sunday, in a nationally televised game, Memphis hosted Villanova. Behind Massie's career-high 23 points, the Tigers made it a perfect week with a 72-68 win over the Wildcats. Coach JOHN CALIPARI said his team is now ready for the conference season, as Memphis is the perennial favorite in the National Division.
SOUTH FLORIDA (7-4, 0-0): After winning the USF Shootout las