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Top seeds set for Conference USA basketball tournaments

HUNTSVILLE – Five full days of wall-to-wall basketball and free concerts at the Von Braun Center, along with activities at Big Spring Park to enhance the experience will accompany next week’s Conference USA Basketball Championships.

The regular-season ending men’s and women’s tournaments are scheduled to unfold next Tuesday, the basketball being played inside Propst Arena and the music will be provided at the adjacent Mars Music Hall.

Meanwhile, the economic windfall for city and area hotels, restaurants and the like will be an estimated $4.8 million.

This is the first time CUSA is holding its championships in the Rocket City.

“We are ready to bring the start of March Madness to Huntsville with the Conference USA championships,” said Joel Lamp, sales manager/sports for the Huntsville-Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “CUSA has a long and storied history of success in the NCAA Tournament and the next Cinderella is punching their ticket to the Big Dance at the VBC.

“The entire sports tourism team here in Huntsville has come together to make this a great experience for the student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans. We know that Huntsville will shine on the national stage again.”

The men’s and women’s action gets underway Tuesday with the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds tipping off at 5:30 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com and games will be broadcast through ESPN+. The semifinals and  finals will switch to CBS Sports Network.

“The CUSA Basketball Championships offer a great opportunity to showcase Huntsville to the student-athletes competing and their fan bases traveling in for the tournament,” said Mark Russell, Huntsville Sports Commission executive director. “The event is expected to generate approximately $4.8 million in economic impact to the city of Huntsville in addition to being a high-caliber event for our community to experience.

“Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster, but we hope those that can’t make it tune in to see Huntsville LIVE on TV.”

Men’s CUSA standings with conference and overall records heading into Saturday’s conference finales:

  • Sam Houston State (12-3, 19-11)
  • Louisiana Tech (11-4, 21-9)
  • Western Kentucky (8-7, 19-10)
  • Middle Tennessee State (7-8, 13-17))
  • Texas-El Paso (7-9, 16-15)
  • Liberty (6-9, 17-13)
  • Jacksonville State (6-9, 14-16)
  • New Mexico State (6-9, 12-18)
  • Florida International (5-10, 10-20)

Sam Houston will come to Huntsville from its campus in Huntsville, Texas. The Bearkats clinched the regular season title and the No. 1 seed for the tournament with a 72-66 win over Louisiana Tech.

Women’s CUSA standings heading into Saturday’s conference finales:

  • Middle Tennessee State (15-0, 25-4)
  • Florida International (11-4, 15-0)
  • Liberty (10-5, 15-15)
  • Louisiana Tech (7-8, 13-17)
  • Western Kentucky (6-9, 15-15)
  • Jacksonville State (6-9, 11-16)
  • Texas-El Paso (6-10, 11-18)
  • New Mexico State (5-10, 11-17)
  • Sam Houston State (2-13, 7-20)

Regular season champion and No. 1 tournament seed MTSU is ranked No. 39 in the NCAA’s Net Rankings. The Blue Raiders will return to the site of one of the biggest wins in school history, a 73-62 win over blue blood Tennessee in early December. It was the program’s first victory over the Lady Vols. 

* Brackets can be found at www.conferenceusa.com.


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