The wildest regular season race in Conference USA history came down to the final day and a couple of familiar names ended up sharing the regular season title. For the second time in three years, Rice and Southern Miss are co-champions of Conference USA, both finishing with 15-9 league records. The Owls secured a share of their seventh C-USA regular season crown in eight years with a series sweep of Marshall at home. Five miles away, Southern Miss posted a 6-5 win Saturday at Houston to gain a share of the crown. Rice will be the No.1 seed at the C-USA Championship at Reckling Park in Houston based on a two-games-to-one series victory at Southern Miss on the opening weekend of league play.
For Rice (37-17), it marks the 18th consecutive season that the Owls have won a conference regular season or tournament championship, dating back to 1995, the final year of the Southwest Conference. For Southern Miss (28-25) it marks its third C-USA regular season crown since 2003.
The 2013 Conference USA Championship will feature the top eight teams in regular-season league play. Those eight will be split into two four-team pools (or pods), with the winner of each pod playing in a single championship game. Teams are assigned pods based on seed, which are determined by the order of finish in regular-season conference play.
Each team is guaranteed to play three games. Teams in each pod will play all three other teams in its pod. The team with the best composite record in each pod advances to the championship game. Two-way ties in a pod will be broken by head-to-head play. In the case of a three-way tie, the highest seed will advance.
Game times are 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the championship game slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The championship game will be nationally-televised by CBS Sports Network.
Pod number one features No.1 seed Rice, No. 4 seed Memphis, No. 5 seed UCF and No. 8 seed UAB. Pod number two includes No. 2 seed Southern Miss, No. 3 seed East Carolina, No. 6 seed Houston and No. 7 seed Tulane.
Makeup of the Pods and Schedule of Play
Pod 1 (Seeds 1, 4 5, and 8) Pod 2 (Seeds 2, 3 6, and 7)
Rice vs. Memphis, UCF and UAB Southern Miss vs. East Carolina, Houston and Tulane
Memphis vs. Rice, UCF and UAB East Carolina vs. Southern Miss, Houston and Tulane
UCF vs. Rice, Memphis and UAB Houston vs. Southern Miss, East Carolina and Tulane
UAB vs. Rice, Memphis and UCF Tulane vs. Southern Miss, East Carolina and Houston
Wednesday, May 22
Game 1 (5) UCF vs. (4) Memphis 11:00a
Game 2 (7) Tulane vs. (2) Southern Miss 3:00p
Game 3 (8) UAB vs. (1) Rice 7:00p
Thursday, May 23
Game 4 (6) Houston vs. (3) East Carolina 11:00a
Game 5 (8) UAB vs. (4) Memphis 3:00p
Game 6 (5) UCF vs. (1) Rice 7:00p
Friday, May 24
Game 7 (7) Tulane vs. (3) East Carolina 11:00a
Game 8 (6) Houston vs. (2) Southern Miss 3:00p
Game 9 (8) UAB vs. (5) UCF 7:00p
Saturday, May 25
Game 10 (4) Memphis vs. (1) Rice 11:00a
Game 11 (7) Tulane vs. (6) Houston 3:00p
Game 12 (3) East Carolina vs. (2) Southern Miss 7:00p
Sunday, May 26 (televised by CBS Sports Network)
Championship Game 1:00p
All Times Central