Neither the Houston Cougars or the UTEP Miners are expected to make noise in the Conference USA Tournament considering the Memphis Tigers are the tournament favorites, but they play for the games for a reason. That reason is the automatic berth each conference tournament winner receives, of course, and both Houston and UTEP would love the opportunity to head to the Big Dance.
The Cougars and Miners will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night and be available to watch on the C-USA Sports Network. Both the Cougars and the Miners finished with 7-9 records during the conference season, earning the eight and nine seeds respectively. That doesn't bode well in the next round for them, however, as it means the winner gets a meeting with Memphis on Thursday night.
Houston won four of its final five games of the season, allowing them to enter the tournament with momentum, but had trouble with the Miners this season. After dropping a 20-point decision to UTEP on Jan. 7, the Cougars needed overtime to pick up a victory in the rematch.
Wednesday's tie-breaker is much more important than either of those games, however, and will potentially allow one of them to play the role of tournament spoiler the rest of the way.