Conference USA (conference rank: 20th)
All games at Birmingham, Ala.
kPOY: Jacorey Williams, Middle Tennessee.
Regular season champ: Middle Tennessee (preseason #121 / 2nd CUSA, current #52)
Overachiever: Middle Tennessee
Underachiever: UAB (preseason #89, current #195)
Many coaches and like-minded folks in the media like to criticize transfers as low-character people that can’t handle adversity. Of course, almost all of the critics have at some point changed jobs or schools or something in their life to try and improve their situation.
Now imagine basketball players, who only have four years to play in college. For the vast majority of college hoopers, those are the best basketball-playing years of their lives. After that, it’s either off to a real job or a life as a vagabond in various foreign countries playing less meaningful hoops. So it’s understandable a player would move if a clearly better situation is available.
Jacorey Williams didn’t leave Arkansas on good terms, but from a basketball standpoint, his move to Middle Tennessee for his final season was a wonderful change. At Arkansas, he was often an undersized four who struggled to make shots but never stopped trying to. With the Blue Raiders, Williams has found his level.
He still mainly plays the four, but now he’s the one with height and length advantages and his game has blossomed in a way it wouldn’t have with another season in Fayetteville. Furthermore, he led Middle Tennessee to a regular-season title and helped put the club in good position to get an at-large bid even if it doesn’t win the conference tournament.
There’s about a 50/50 chance of that happening according to this analysis, which gives UAB a half dose of home-court advantage.
Qtrs Semis Final Champ 1 Middle Tennessee 100 88.2 71.0 49.5 2 Louisiana Tech 100 72.6 47.3 22.0 3 Old Dominion 100 64.6 29.4 11.4 5 Rice 86.0 53.3 15.0 6.4 7 UAB 67.4 22.1 10.6 3.4 4 UTEP 100 43.4 9.5 3.1 6 Marshall 73.5 29.1 9.9 2.6 8 Western Kentucky 54.2 7.1 2.6 0.7 9 UTSA 45.8 4.7 1.6 0.4 10 Charlotte 32.6 5.3 1.6 0.3 11 Florida Atlantic 26.5 6.3 1.2 0.2 12 Southern Miss 14.0 3.3 0.3 0.03