Michael White and Louisiana Tech lead this week's C-USA power rankings. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports.

Conference USA Power Rankings: LA Tech claws way to top

After the first week of conference games in the books, there has been a fair amount of movement in our rankings this week.  Louisiana Tech moves into the top spot after Southern Miss dropped the ball against an average Tulsa squad.  UTSA entered conference play as the overwhelming favorite to be the worst team in the conference this year, but now is one of only three teams without a conference loss thus far.  UTEP, North Texas, and Marshall are all currently in the running for the most disappointing seasons compared to pre-season expectations.  Anyways, here are this week’s updated rankings:

1.) Louisiana Tech (14-3, 2-0) (Last week: #2)
Last week: W vs. FAU (64-84), W vs. FIU (51-85)
This week:
@ Tulane (1/16), @ Southern Miss (1/19)
Overview: Louisiana Tech seems to be the only team capable of blowing out “lesser” opponents in the whole conference. Their first two conference wins came against the lowly Florida schools by an average margin of victory of 27 points.

2.) Middle Tennessee (11-5, 1-0) (Last week: #5)
Last week: W vs. UAB (89-84 OT)
This week: vs. UTEP (1/16), vs. UTSA (1/18)
Overview: It’s difficult to say if Middle Tennessee is truly the second best team in the conference at this point, but it’s hard to put them behind a UAB team that they beat at home in overtime last week or a Southern Miss team that lost to Tulsa on the road.

3.) UAB (11-4, 0-1) (Last week: #4)
Last week: L @ Middle Tennessee (89-84 OT)
This week: vs. UTSA (1/16), vs. UTEP (1/18)
Overview: Had the game been in Birmingham, the Blazers might have had a better shot at pulling out the OT victory last week.  Despite the loss, UAB remains as one of the top contenders to win the conference crown this season.

4.) Southern Miss (14-3, 1-1) (Last week: #1)
Last week: W @ North Texas (64-74), L @ Tulsa (75-71)
This week: vs. Rice (1/16), vs. Louisiana Tech (1/19)
Overview: Tulsa’s a team that is better than their record suggests, but it was still a road game that the Golden Eagles should have won.  Donnie Tyndall’s squad will be truly tested this week when they get Louisiana Tech at home on Sunday.

5.) Charlotte (10-5, 1-1) (Last week: #3)
Last week: W @ UTEP (68-73), L @ UTSA (85-77)
This week: vs. Tulsa (1/16), vs. North Texas (1/18)
Overview: Alan Major and Co. definitely have some ‘splanin to do after an ugly performance in San Antonio Saturday.  Charlotte still has the talent to compete for the conference title, but the team is going to have to get back on the right track for that to happen.

6.) Tulsa (7-9, 2-0) (Last week: #11)
Last week: W vs. Tulane (97-71), W vs. Southern Miss (75-71)
This week: @ Charlotte (1/16), @ Marshall (1/18)
Overview: Tulsa may have a terrible out of conference record, but they were one of the few C-USA teams who actually had a respectable OOC SOS.  They handled Tulane at home and followed that up with a win over the then-conference favorite, Southern Miss.

7.) UTEP (11-6, 1-1) (Last week: #7)
Last week: L vs. Charlotte (68-73), W vs. Marshall (66-56)
This week:  @ Middle Tennessee (1/16), @ UAB (1/18)
Overview: Despite all of the controversy surrounding the team last week, Tim Floyd’s team showed that they aren’t going to just roll over for the rest of the season.  UTEP still has talent on it’s roster; depth is going to be their biggest problem this year.

8.) Old Dominion (7-9, 1-0) (Last week: #13)
Last week: W @ ECU (70-81)
This week: @ FIU (1/16), @ FAU (1/18)
Overview: ODU’s scoring defense is good for fourth in the conference.  Jeff Jones has his team trending in the right direction after losing six straight earlier this season.

9.) East Carolina (11-5, 0-1) (Last week: #6)
Last week: L vs. ODU (70-81)
This week: @ FAU (1/16), @ FIU (1/18)
Overview: A double-digit home loss against ODU wasn’t the way Jeff Lebo wanted his Pirates to start off conference play.  ECU will have a good chance to turn things around when they play the Florida schools this week.

10.) Tulane (9-8, 1-1) (Last week: #9)
Last week: L @ Tulsa (97-71), W @ North Texas (62-73)
This week: vs. Louisiana Tech (1/16), vs. Rice (1/18)
Overview: Tulane followed up a 26-point beat down at Tulsa with a double-digit win at North Texas.  The Green Wave’s guards have room for improvement, though- Tulane is last in the conference in assists and second-to-last in steals per game.

11.) Florida International (9-8, 1-1) (Last week: #10)
Last week: W @ Rice (60-71), L @ Louisiana Tech (85-51)
This week: vs. ODU (1/16), vs. ECU (1/18)
Overview: Their win at Rice and loss at Louisiana Tech were both expected.  Wins against ODU and ECU this week would vault the Panthers into the top-half of the conference.

12.) North Texas (9-7, 0-2) (Last week: #8)
Last week: L vs. Southern Miss (64-74), L vs. Tulane (62-73)
This week: @ Marshall (1/16), @ Charlotte (1/18)
Overview: Losing your first two home conference games is not the best way to start off conference play.

13.) Florida Atlantic (5-11, 1-1) (Last week: #14)
Last week: L @ Louisiana Tech (84-64), W @ Rice (68-73)
This week: vs. ECU (1/16), vs. ODU (1/18)
Overview: Their win at Rice boosted their RPI to 280, but they still only have the 280th best RPI in the country.

14.) UTSA (6-9, 2-0) (Last week: #16)
Last week: W vs. Marshall (90-81), W vs. Charlotte (85-77)
This week: @ UAB (1/16), @ Middle Tennessee (1/18)
Overview: When a 300+ RPI team isn’t last in the conference, that’s usually a pretty good indicator of the depth of the conference.  When a 300+ RPI team starts conference play 2-0, there’s really no explanation.

15.) Marshall (6-11, 0-2) (Last week: #12)
Last week: L @ UTSA (90-81), L @ UTEP (66-56)
This week: vs. North Texas (1/16), vs. Tulsa (1/18)
Overview: The Thundering Herd deeply miss Elijah Pittman.  This could be a long season for Marshall fans.

16.) Rice (5-10, 0-2) (Last week: #15)
Last week: L vs. FIU (60-71), L vs. FAU (68-73)
This week: @ Southern Miss (1/16), @ Tulane (1/18)
Overview: The Owls might remain in this position the rest of the season.

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