State of the C-USA: December 9 Hoops Editor Kyle Phillippi breaks down Conference USA and identifies the individual statistical leaders around the conference. Come inside to find out how the Big Ten and ACC share a similar achievement with the C-USA. Plus, where does SMU stand in all of this?

As of now, Conference USA has just one team ranked in the Top-25 (Memphis), but all 12 teams have a record of .500 or above. Only one team is currently at .500 (Rice).

There are three teams with seven wins and one undefeated team (UCF).

1. UCF: 7-0
2. Memphis: 7-1
3. Southern Miss: 5-1
4. UAB: 7-2
5. Marshall: 6-2
6. Tulane: 5-2
7. UTEP: 5-2
8. East Carolina: 7-3
9. Houston: 6-3
10. Tulsa: 4-3
11. SMU: 5-4
12. Rice: 4-4

The C-USA is shaping up to be a competitive conference, at least early on. If SMU wants to compete with the likes of UCF, Memphis, and UAB, they will need to play at 100% each and every game for the remained of the season.

Now that's easier said than done, but if they can avoid any costly injuries, SMU should be competitive with the top tier teams.

Only the ACC and Big Ten have all their schools at .500 or above record-wise. The C-USA should be proud to be in an exclusive group… for the moment.

Randy Culpepper of UTEP leads the conference with 20.7 points per game, while Gary Flowers of Southern Miss is second with 20.6. SMU's Papa Dia is fifth in the conference with 17.3 points per game.

Robert Nyakundi sits at eleventh with 15.6 points per game. SMU only has two players in the top 40 in points per game. That better change if they want to compete when conference play rolls around.

Rice's Arsalan Kazemi leads the conference in rebounds with 10.6, but Dia, who sits at seventh with 7.6 boards per game, will look to finish in the top three in both rebounding and scoring by season's end.

There are no SMU players in the top ten for assists, either. Freshman Jeremiah Samarrippas is ranked 11th with 3.8 assists per game. Nyakundi (2.2 assists per game) ranks 22nd, and Dia (2.0 assists per game) ranks 29th.

Dia is tied fifth in blocks with 1.33. Gary Flowers of Southern Miss leads with 2.40.

Individual statistics can be deceiving; however, SMU needs to spread the ball around, or else teams will start taking Dia out of the game.

Stay tuned for next week's "State of the C-USA".

-Josh Harvey-

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