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2019 Conference USA Tournament Odds: Southern Miss Favored

Southern Mississippi guard and leading scorer Tyree Griffin driving to the basket.
Tyree Griffin and the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles are the betting favorites in the C-USA tournament, even though they landed as the no. 3 seed. Photo by Twitter user @SouthernMissMBB.
  • Southern Mississippi is favored to win the Conference USA tournament
  • The Golden Eagles finished in a four-way tie for second at 11-7
  • Old Dominion (13-5) won the regular-season title

Are the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles going to land the Conference USA tournament title and a berth in March Madness? The oddsmakers at MyBookie have positioned Doc Sadler’s squad as modest favorites for the tournament, which takes place March 13-16 at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas.

Odds To Win 2019 Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Team Odds to win 2019 Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament at MyBookie (Mar. 12)
Southern Miss +220
Old Dominion +320
Western Kentucky +360
UTSA +470
Memphis +820
Louisiana Tech +1200
UAB +1300
North Texas +1500
Marshall +1900
Florida Atlantic +2300
FIU +3900
Rice +6500
Middle Tennessee +6500

Southern Mississippi (19-11, 11-7 C-USA) didn’t wear the Conference USA regular-season crown. That honor went to the Old Dominion Monarchs, who finished 13-5 in conference and 23-8 overall.

The Golden Eagles, Marshall Thundering Herd, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, and UTSA Roadrunners all ended the regular season 11-7.

Conference USA has by far the most complicated tournament-seeding system in the nation (which is why you will see 11-7 Marshall as the no. 6 seed and 10-8 UAB as the no. 5 seed). There’s no need to go into detail now. Here is how the bracket sets up after tiebreakers.

2019 C-USA Tournament Bracket

C-USA tournament bracket
C-USA tournament bracket

Western Kentucky landed as the no. 2 seed, Southern Miss is no. 3, and UTSA no. 4.

Why The Golden Eagles Could Soar

In Doc Sadler’s first two years as Southern Mississippi coach, the Golden Eagles won 26 games combined. In the past two seasons, they’ve won 35.

Southern Miss closed out the regular season by hammering UTSA 81-48. That came on the heels of a 59-52 road victory over Old Dominion. Because of that, the Golden Eagles look to be rolling at precisely the right time of the season, and they enter the tournament ranked highest in the conference at KenPom (100th), 14 spots better than the Monarchs (114th).

In the regular-season finale, the Golden Eagles shot 47.7 percent from the field. They nailed 16 of 34 three-pointers and won the rebound battle 47-34. Junior guard Cortez Edwards shattered Curtis Green’s school record for steals in a season with 197.

Southern Mississippi has never won the conference tourney. The Golden Eagles lost 91-79 in double overtime to Memphis in the 2013 Conference USA tournament title game.

It’s A Wide Open Affair

From a wagering standpoint, you’ve got to love Conference USA. There is no clear-cut favorite to win it all. Seven teams finished within three wins of first place.

The top-seeded team has won just one of the past five Conference USA tournaments. That was Middle Tennessee State (2017).

Past Conference USA Tournament Champions

Year Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions
2014 Tulsa
2015 UAB
2016 Middle Tennessee State
2017 Middle Tennessee State
2018 Marshall

Last year, Southern Mississippi, a No. 9 seed, upset two-time defending tournament champion and No. 1-seeded Middle Tennessee State in the quarterfinals.

It’s logical to expect upsets to occur in this tournament. Still, when picking a champion, it’s unwise to roll with a deep longshot. The past five champs were all seeded fourth or better.

All of the top teams have taken turns beating each other. In head to head among the top five in the conference, Old Dominion and Southern Mississippi are 4-3, Western Kentucky is 4-4, UTSA is 3-4, and Marshall is 2-3.

Golden Eagles Rule

Marshall has five straight wins. The Thundering Herd and Southern Mississippi carry the hot hands into the tournament.

The Golden Eagles sport C-USA’s most efficient offense (107.7 points per 100 possessions). They lead the conference in effective field-goal percentage (54.9), three-point percentage (41.2), and percentage of assisted field goals (60.1).

They also completely obliterated Marshall, their likely QF opponent, in the regular season, winning by 50 (101-51) and they have only lost by double digits once this season (64-48 to North Florida on a neutral court).

They look like the winners in what will be a very close race to the finish line.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

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An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.