It's tournament time!
With all eyes on the conference tournaments this week, here's a look at the top contenders for Conference USA's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
You can watch all four quarterfinal games Thursday on ASN.
- Key question: Can the big three of Jacorey Williams, Reggie Upshaw and Giddy Potts withstand a C-USA attack from the field?
- Key players: Williams is the best player on C-USA's best team, which set the record for most conference wins (17) this season. Williams leads MTSU in scoring (17.2) and rebounding (7.2). Potts (15.5) and Upshaw (14.1) are also double-digit scorers.
- Record: 27-4, 17-1, C-USA (no. 1 seed).
- Wins vs. Power 5 & Big East: Beat Mississippi, 77-62, and Vanderbilt, 71-48.
- C-USA Tournament opener: Thursday vs. Wednesday's Western Kentucky-UTSA winner.
- NCAA ranks: No. 19 in non-conference strength of schedule; No. 15 in field-goal shooting (48.7%) and assist/turnover ration (1.43).
- C-USA ranks: No. 1 in field-goal shooting (48.7%), 3-point defense (32.0%), turnover margin (2.84), assist/turnover ration (1.43); No. 2 in scoring defense (63.1), scoring margin (11.1), steals (6.77) and rebound margin (5.4).
- Key question: Can anyone contain the Bulldogs' high-scoring combo of Erik McCree (17.7) and Jacobi Boykins (15.0)?
- Key players: All-conference first-team Erik McCree averages 17.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Third-teamer Jacobi Boykins adds 15 points per game.
- Record: 22-9, 14-4 C-USA (No. 2 seed).
- C-USA Tournament opener: Thursday vs. Wednesday's UAB-Charlotte winner.
- NCAA ranks: Daquan Bracey No. 6 in assist/turnover ratio (3.56); La Tech T12 in blocked shots (5.5).
- C-USA ranks: No. 1 in scoring margin (11.5), assists (16.7), steals (6.81) and blocks (5.45); No. 2 in field-goal shooting (46.9%), 3-point defense (41.3%) and turnover margin (1.8).
- Key question: One thing we know, this young team can defend! Can head coach Jeff Jones get enough offense to win?
- Key players: Ahmad Caver (13.2), Zoran Talley (11.5) and B.J Stith (10.7) lead the scoring while Denzell Taylor (7.5) and Brandan Stith (6.8) lead the rebounding.
- Record: 19-11, 12-6 C-USA (No. 3 seed).
- Wins vs. Power 5 & Big East: Beat St. John's, 63-55.
- C-USA Tournament opener: Thursday vs. Wednesday's Marshall-Florida Atlantic winner.
- NCAA ranks: No. 7 in scoring defense (61.1).
- C-USA ranks: No. 1 scoring defense (61.1), field-goal defense (39.9%) and rebounding margin (5.5).
- Key question: Now that the Miners have dug themselves out of a hole and are legit C-USA contenders, can head coach Tim Floyd mine C-USA gold?
- Key players: The Miners have a trio of double-figure scorers in Omega Harris (16.8), Dominic Artis (14.9) and Matt Willms (11.7).
- Record: 14-16, 12-6 C-USA (No. 4 seed).
- C-USA Tournament opener: Thursday vs. Wednesday's Rice-Southern Miss winner.
- C-USA ranks: No. 2 in field-goal shooting (46.9%).
- Key question: Can anyone match up to the Owls’ high-scoring trio of Marcus Evans (18.8), Egor Koulechov (18.5) and Marcus Jackson (12.2)?
- Record: 21-10, 11-7 C-USA (No. 5 seed).
- C-USA Tournament opener: Wednesday vs. No. 12 seed Southern Miss.
- C-USA ranks: No. 1 in 3-point shooting (38.8%); No. 2 in scoring offense (81.5), 3-point shooting (33.3%) and 3-pointers made (9.3)
- Key question: Who can slow down the Herd, which is thundering on offense (86.4 points per game, sixth in the nation)?
- Record: 17-14, 10-8 C-USA (No. 6 seed).
- C-USA Tournament opener: Wednesday vs. No. 11 seed Florida Atlantic.
- NCAA ranks: Marshall No. 6 in scoring offense (86.4) and No. 11 in 3-pointers made (10.0); Austin Loop No. 15 in 3-point shooting (43.8%) and Jon Elmore No. 15 in assists (6.1).
- C-USA ranks: No. 1 in scoring offense (86.4) and 3-pointers made (10.0); No. 2 in assists (16.5).
- Key question: Who will be able to match up with the Blazers' scoring duo of William Lee (13.0) and Chris Cokley (12.3)?
- Record: 16-15, 9-9 C-USA (No. 7 seed).
- C-USA Tournament opener: Wednesday vs. No. 10 seed Charlotte.
- C-USA ranks: No. 2 in blocked shots (4.87).
Other wins vs. Power 5 & Big East
- Charlotte: Beat Oregon State, 69-66.
- Florida Atlantic: Beat Ohio State, 79-77.
Other NCAA leaders
- Individual: Donte McGill, FIU — No. 3 in free-throw shooting (92.9%).
- No. 8 Western Kentucky vs. No. 9 UTSA, 12:30 p.m. ET
- No. 5 Rice vs. No. 12 Southern Miss, 3 p.m. ET
- No. 7 UAB vs. 10 Charlotte, 6:30 p.m. ET
- No. 6 Marshall vs. No. 11 Florida Atlantic, 9 p.m. ET
- No. 1 Middle Tennessee vs. Western Kentucky-UTSA winner, 12:30 p.m. ET
- No. 4 UTEP vs. Rice-Southern Miss winner, 3 p.m. ET
- No. 2 Louisiana Tech vs. UAB-Charlotte winner, 6:30 p.m. ET
- No. 3 Old Dominion vs. Marshall-Florida Atlantic winner, 9 p.m. ET
- Semifinals: 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET
- Championship: 7:30 p.m. ET
Projected automatic bid
Mark Adams is ASN's lead basketball analyst. Follow him on Twitter at @EnthusiAdams.