This should be one of the most exciting conference tournaments of the year due to the parity in Conference USA. It should make for a wild and entertaining week, but will almost be impossible to accurately predict. Despite that, I can confidently say I believe Middle got the best case matchup for themselves with the four seed.
The 2023 C-USA Men’s Basketball Championship Bracket! 🏀🏆#CUSAMBB | https://t.co/ptzdxgLZ80 pic.twitter.com/llQIEanzhP
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) March 5, 2023
Charlotte, who will be MTSU’s first matchup on Thursday at 6:00, is one of just three C-USA teams Middle was able to sweep this season which not only speaks to the level of competition in the league but the opportunity Middle has to get out of their first game alive. The other positive is they avoid North Texas who they were unable to beat this year and stay out of the collision course that the Mean Green and UAB Blazers are on in the other half of the bracket.
Instead Middle will be on FAU’s side of the bracket where they have a combined 4-4 record with one sweep, two splits, and one double loss. FAU, who is the one seed, is one of those splits for the Blue Raiders this season. If they make it past Charlotte and do not find the Owls waiting for them, we will be in for a legendary tiebreaker against arch-rival WKU or a revenge game against UTEP.
MTSU has the horses (including their Pegasus mascot, Lightning) to make a run at this tournament. Guard play and rebounding will get you where you want to go in March and Middle has two of the best with Cam Weston and Deandre Dishman. Elias King, who has really stepped up lately, could be the X-factor for the Blue Raiders when it’s all said and done. MTSU isn’t going to The NCAA tournament without securing this championship and the auto-bid that comes with it. We have talked about Middle avoiding certain matchups and being in a good spot in this tournament, but from the point of view of the other C-USA schools, I wouldn’t want to play this Raiders squad with their backs against the wall. They are a close, mentally tough group that has each others’ backs and will fight to the last man and be an extremely tough out.
MTSU plays Charlotte Thursday, March 9 at 6:00 p.m. Watch it on ESPN+.