HomeCollege Basketball2024 Conference USA Basketball Tournament Odds & Predictions

    2024 Conference USA Basketball Tournament Odds & Predictions

    A deep dive into the 2024 Conference USA Tournament.

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    2024 Conference USA Basketball Tournament

    On March 12th, the Conference USA men’s basketball tournament tips off at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Last year, Florida Atlantic beat UAB in the finals of this tournament, but neither one of those programs is in the conference these days. Instead, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs enter the tournament as the favorites this year. They’re coming off an impressive regular season, but winning this thing and going to March Madness is far from a sure thing. 

    Keep reading for our picks and predictions on how this conference tournament will play out. There are quite a few teams that have the ability to emerge with the NCAA Tournament bid.

     

    How to Watch the Conference USA Tournament

    When: March 12-16

    Where: Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama

    Format: Seeding based on record in conference; top-seven seeds receive byes to quarterfinals

    Watch: ESPN+, SBSSN; Championship Game on CBSSN at 8:30 pm ET on Mar. 16

    College Basketball Odds | College Basketball Betting Splits | Greg Peterson’s Daily Lines | Steve Makinen’s Power Ratings

    Conference USA Tournament Bracket

    Conference USA Tournament Seeds, Teams and Odds

    1. Sam Houston State Bearkats (+500)

    2. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+115)

    3. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (+475)

    4. Liberty Flames (+450)

    5. UTEP Miners (12-1)

    6. New Mexico State Lobos (65-1)

    7. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (65-1)

    8. Jacksonville State Gamecocks (25-1)

    9. FIU Panthers (150-1)

    (odds from DraftKings Sportsbook accurate at time of publish)

    Favorite To Win Conference USA Tournament

    Louisiana Tech is the only top-100 C-USA team when it comes to VSiN’s power ratings, KenPom and Bart Torvik. In fact, none of the other teams are particularly close. The Bulldogs are just a very good defensive team, ranking top 50 defensively by Bart Torvik. That is the identity of this squad, and defending at a high level goes a long way against mediocre opponents. Louisiana Tech also happens to have one of the better players in the conference in Isaiah Crawford, who averaged 16.5 points per game on very efficient shooting. He has the highest BPM in Conference USA, and he has good players like Tahlik Chavez and Daniel Batcho to support him. Chavez is another explosive guard, while Batcho is the interior presence for this team and swats away 2.4 shots per game.

    Conference USA Tournament Darkhorse

    When looking for a darkhorse, you can’t go wrong with a talented team that underperformed a bit during the regular season. That said, Middle Tennessee looks like a decent option to make a surprising run in this tournament. A lot would have to break right for the Blue Raiders, but this was a team that many thought would win the conference this year. 

    Of course, losing Camryn Weston was a killer for this group. But the team still has Jared Coleman-Jones, who is one of the best players on the floor every night. He really fills up the stat sheet and the Blue Raiders can make some noise if some of the guards find their outside shots. Jestin Porter and Elias King are both capable, but they lack consistency. 

    The Blue Raiders will have to face the Bulldogs in their first game here. That’s obviously going to be a very tough challenge. But Middle Tennessee did play Louisiana Tech close on two occasions this year, and it’s very hard to beat a team three times in one season. And if Middle Tennessee finds a way to pull that upset, the team would then take over Louisiana Tech’s favorable draw. 

    Players to Watch in Conference USA Tournament

    Isaiah Crawford is the best player in this conference. He’s a lockdown defender that can cover multiple positions, setting the tone for a Louisiana Tech defense that has been really tough all year. Offensively, Crawford is a good athlete that can score at all three levels. He looks the part of a future NBA rotation player, and his play stands out in a weak conference. With Crawford in the mix, plus guys like Chavez and Batcho, it’s easy to see why Louisiana Tech was the best team in this conference.

    Liberty forwards Kyle Rode and Zach Cleveland were both top five in C-USA in BPM during the regular season. Rode is a lights-out shooter and has a little more to his offensive arsenal than just that. Meanwhile, Cleveland is something of a jack of all trades at forward. He absolutely stuffs the stat sheet and averages more assists per game than any of Liberty’s guards. Speaking of the Flames backcourt, Kaden Metheny, a transfer from Bowling Green, has been a consistent scoring presence all season. He’s a guy that can get hot in a hurry, so keep an eye on him in this tournament. 

    For top-seeded Sam Houston State, guards Lamar Wilkerson and Davon Barnes lead the way. Both had games in which they really took over for the Bearkats, but it was Wilkerson a little more often. He had 24 in a win against Louisiana Tech back in January. This team is also pretty deep with contributors, with seemingly anybody capable of stepping up on any given night. 

    Western Kentucky guard Don McHenry was the most consistent scorer for the Hilltoppers this year. He’s a player that is fully capable of getting hot and leading his team on a run. Meanwhile, Tyrone Marshall Jr.’s traditional stats don’t jump off the page, but he was near the top of the conference in BPM. That said, there’s more than meets the eye with him. Western Kentucky is similar to Sam Houston State in that a lot of guys are ready to step up when needed. 

    Betting Pick to Win The Conference USA Tournament

    This is one of the tougher conferences to call, but Louisiana Tech really should win this thing. I know I mentioned Middle Tennessee State as a darkhorse, but that should be nothing more than a sprinkle — and really more like a quarter of a sprinkle. Crawford is the best two-way player in the conference, and the Bulldogs can ride him to a conference championship. He’s a threat to score 20 on any given night, and he’s essentially matchup-proof. As for Batcho, he is a monster in the paint and is capable of impacting the game on both ends of the floor. All in all, it’s just hard not to love what Louisiana Tech does on the defensive end. The question is whether or not the Bulldogs can come up with the goods offensively in three consecutive games. I feel pretty good about their chances.

    Makinen Power Ratings for Conference USA

    Check out the other previews in our 2024 College Basketball Conference Tournament Betting Guide.

    Zachary Cohen
    Zachary Cohen
    Zach has been writing about betting since he was a student at the University of Wisconsin, which is when he started working with StatFox — and contributing to the weekly Platinum Sheet. His work has since been featured for brands like Covers, Sports Illustrated and Tennis Channel. Zach is extremely passionate about the NBA, but he does a bit of everything and has found a niche as a tennis handicapper. Outside of work, Zach likes nothing more than shooting around in an empty gym or watching bad comedies.

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