Posted on: March 13, 2010 2:02 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2010 7:16 pm

Houston Responsible for Fatal Mining Accident


UTEP hadn't been beaten in two months until today. The last time they were beaten, it was by the Houston Cougars. 

Today, the Cougars did it again. This time, though, they'll take home a Conference USA trophy and a bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

It didn't start off pretty. UTEP jumped out to a very early lead against the Cougars, looking dominant, just as was expected. UTEP's cast was performing strong, leading 43-38 at the half. 

Then Tom Penders' gang got it together. And decided it was time to stop losing, apparently. The second half saw a rousing surge that, if we're being truthful, almost seemed too exciting to be Conference USA basketball. Kelvin Lewis, Aubrey Coleman and Adam Brown joined forces to create an undeniable wave -- both offensively and defensively -- and surge against the Miners. 

When Houston's Kelvin Lewis hit a long, bold three to take a one point lead at the 3:18 mark, and Adam Brown followed it up to put the Cougars up four, a momentum was underway that couldn't be stopped. And underdog Houston dethrones UTEP 81-73. Somewhere, CBS alum Jim Nantz is happy about that. 

So the Cougars slip and slide into the NCAA tournament. Who's next?
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2010 11:35 am
Edited on: March 13, 2010 1:05 pm

C-USA Final: Is Houston a Magic Bullet?


As you read this, the Conference-USA Final is beginning, hosting a matchup of the seventh-seeded Houston Cougars and the one-seeded faves UTEP. On paper, this should be no contest, right?

Not so fast. Don't count Houston out just yet. 

The Situation:

UTEP Is, Quietly, One of the Hottest Teams in the Nation Right Now. Bet you didn't know that. The truth is that UTEP is on the second-longest winning streak in school history. On a sixteen-game winning trend, they haven't lost a game in two months. They're recognized as the only C-USA team guaranteed an NCAA tourney bid right now, nationally-ranked (25).

The Last Time UTEP Lost, It Was to Houston. That's right. Tom Penders' Cougars found UTEP's achilles heel just before the Miners took off on their streak. And that means, of course, that UTEP's not exactly the lock it might have been. So a bit of added intrigue steps into what looks like a cut-and-dry UTEP win.

UTEP hasn't been able to control Houston's Aubrey Coleman. The conference scoring leader averages 23.9 against the Miners over four matchups, so if he's feeling the flow and doing the bull dance today, he could be the spark the Cougars need to rob the trophy right out from under UTEP's nose. And they're going to need that if they want to be dancing tomorrow.

You never know where the UTEP threat is going to come from. It was Jeremy Williams against Central Florida. Randy Culpepper took the honors against Tulsa. And Derrick Caracter is third in that rotation, meaning today could be his day. A revolving cast of gunslingers could make things confusing for Houston.

Derrick Caracter's favorite television show is Nickelodeon's Doug. I remember that from the 2006 Louisville Media Guide. But who's his Skeeter? We'll see today.

The Conference USA Finals begin right now only on CBS -- Home of smash crime drama The Mentalist and runaway comedy hit Rules of Engagement!

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2010 11:35 am
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Posted on: March 11, 2010 5:45 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 10:45 pm

Again, Memphis falls just short

Thomas Beisner

6:00 PM

It was a tough season for the Memphis Tigers and first-time head coach Josh Pastner in their first year after J.C. Not quite the super-talented squads that Calipari led to a historic level of winning the past few years, this edition was a little more scrappy and endured the end of the C-USA winning streak, the cloud of NCAA sanctions and player dismissals. When Willie Kemp was called for a double-dribble with the Tigers down one and trying for a final shot, it seemed a fitting end to a courageous but unspectacular year.

Kemp’s performance was heroic, though his 15 points only told part of the story. With his team’s tournament fate on the line, he did his best Anthony Johnson impression (I love that guy!) and poured in five straight baskets for the Tigers. Unfortunately, though, Houston’s Aubrey Coleman scored the last of his 21 points with five seconds left, sending the Tigers into bracket bubble hell.

The commonly shared opinion entering the Conference USA Tournament was that Josh Pastner’s team needed to make the final in order to feel comfortable about their NCAA chances. A loss to the 17-15 (7-9) Cougars adds a late-season smear mark to a 23-9 (13-3) record that seemed to be better than the team it put on the floor sometimes. As of now, Memphis’ hopes would appear to be gloomy with upsets popping up across the major conference landscape.

There’s no doubt that Josh Pastner’s team is on the rise and a loaded recruiting class will have the Tigers back firmly in the tournament conversation this year. But, after a disappointing loss to the Cougars on Thursday, their fate now appears to be in someone else’s hands – a feeling that has been unfortunately all too familiar this year.

Posted on: March 10, 2010 2:24 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2010 5:51 pm

South Florida Finds its Bubble Burst


2:25 PM

The early games are coming to a close in the major conferences and again, we have few surprises.  The big news of the day is that South Florida's magical run to the NCAA Tournament will end up crashing on the mean streets of New York, as they fell hard to Georgetown, 69-49.  The Hoyas jumped on USF from the opening tip, and never looked back, dominating both ends of the floor.  The Hoyas got at least 15 points each from Greg Monroe, Chris Wright and Jason Clark, to put together a balanced attack that sends them into the next round for what could be a classic battle against Syracuse.

As for South Florida, it was actually a solid season for Stan Heath's club, as they won 20 games and put together a .500 record in conference play, something that absolutely no one would have predicted and more established powers like UCONN would have wished for.  But they are done in by a lack of quality out of conference wins and no scalps of the big boys in the Big East.  An NIT berth awaits and for those of you that have an NIT pool, the Bulls would not be a bad selection at all.

In other news, Texas Tech is closing out Colorado in the Big 12 Tournament, leading to the question, "does anyone remember that Colorado has a basketball team?"  I mean think about it, who is the last Colorado basketball player besides Chauncey Billups that has mattered?  True college fans may remember David Harrison, but if there ever was a school in contention for "worst BCS basketball school of the 2000s", I would think it would have to be the Buffaloes.  At least Boulder is a great place to live.  Texas Tech moves on and will see Kansas tomorrow.

Houston also beat East Carolina in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament, but if you care about that, you need to get out in the sun a bit more.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com