It’s the time of year when fans begin discussing things like tournament resumes, RPIs, and the like. For the Charlotte 49ers, they hope to get a nice boost to their own NCAA hopes as they enter a non-conference contest against #14 Clemson at Transamerica Field tonight at 7pm.
The Niners (30 RPI) have some pretty stout results against some top teams. They held on at then-8th ranked UAB for a scoreless draw on September 13 despite playing most of the match with nine men. October 1’s match against then-#20 Wake Forest was a 1-1 draw, while an October 4 match at a strong New Mexico team ended goal-less for both teams.
On the other hand, the team’s five losses, while all disappointing, haven’t all turned out to be terrible ones in the end. The worst one came against South Carolina, a team with a current RPI of 93 and a conference game at that. Defeats to UNC Greensboro (63), Memphis (51), Old Dominion (28) and Tulsa (#20 at the time, now unranked) don’t look terrible now, but at least three of those (UNCG, Memphis, ODU), and certainly the contest against the Gamecocks, should have been wins.
Hopefully the win over Kentucky provides a boost for the rest of the season. A victory over the Tigers tonight would work wonders for the Niners’ NCAA standing, but the work will be far from done after tonight. Florida Atlantic (104), Marshall (182), and FIU (110) will be the most important games of the year from a Conference USA standpoint: three winnable games that could be the difference between a conference tournament appearance and no postseason at all, let alone an NCAA appearance.