If you are still playing in a conference tournament on Friday, you have a real shot at winning the conference title and earning that elusive automatic bid into the NCAA tournament which is what all teams yearn for.
While the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are still theoretically alive in the bubble conversation, the team could end all doubts about their postseason play by capping off an impressive season with a win the Conference USA tournament. Conference USA this season has been very competitive at the top as four teams ended the regular season with a conference record of 13-3, and while Southern Miss drew the four seed in the tournament the Golden Eagles are still the odds on favorite to claim the title.
The Golden Eagles held on to defeat the UTEP Miners 64-56 in the third round of the C-USA tournament. Michael Craig and Aaron Brown proved to be the difference makers for the Golden Eagles combining for 30 points and 19 rebounds in the winning effort that keeps Southern Miss alive in the conference title hunt.
With the win on Thursday, the Golden Eagles await the winner of the Charlotte/Louisiana Tech game to see who they will face in the C-USA semifinals. Even though the Golden Eagles have already defeated both teams by double digits this season, this semifinal matchup is all that matters at this point as every team eyes a spot in the big dance.
Southern Miss remains the favorite in the C-USA tournament, but in a season filled with parity throughout the conference the Golden Eagles will have to remain sharp if they want to gain entrance to the dance.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.