Conference USA (conference rank: 20th)
March 8-11
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