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Conference USA Notebook

Charlotte is off to a hot start, with some really nice performances against an extremely tough schedule. The 49ers beat Penn State and South Carolina, and they almost took out a Top 25 team after getting a do-over.

Mike Thorne, Jr. Is a monster in the middle for Charlotte.
Mike Thorne, Jr. Is a monster in the middle for Charlotte.
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte lost to Miami on Sunday, then turned around and almost beat the 'Canes on Tuesday before falling 77-74. The 49ers still have road games against Davidson, George Washington, Georgetown, and Georgia Tech. 

6-4 senior guard Pierria Henry is back to lead the 49ers, but he has a little help. Henry leads the team with 4.8 assists per game, while chipping in 9.4 points and 7 rebounds. Charlotte native Braxton Ogbueze, a 6-1 sophomore, is averaging 13 points per game and is making 44% from deep. 6-11 270 Mike Thorne Jr. Leads the team with 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds while shooting 59% from the floor.

Old Dominion has a huge showdown with VCU on Saturday. The Monarchs took out Richmond and LSU already this year. 

Campbell transfer Trey Freeman was supposed to make a big impact for ODU, but not many expected him to average 29.8 points per game. Freeman was huge in the LSU win, scoring 25 points on 9-18 shooting.

UTEP has only played in two games, but they are both big wins over Washington State and New Mexico State. 
The Miners have big road contests coming up against Colorado State and New Mexico State. After beating the Aggies by one point at home, you can bet UTEP will be in for a fight in the rematch.

Vince Hunter is leading the way for the Miners with 18.5 points and 13 rebounds. 6-10 Cedrick Lang and 6-8 Julian Washburn are both chipping in with at least 10 points and 5 rebounds apiece. Senior guard C.J. Cooper is averaging 6 assists per game. Cooper and fellow senior Washburn lead the team in minutes  played at 32 per game. Washburn is only shooting 27% from the field; once he gets going his points per game will tick up s few notches.

LA Tech is 4-0 after sweeping American, Presbyterian, and Morehead State at home over the weekend. Raheem Appleby leads the way with 15.8 points per game. Speedy Smith leads CUSA with 6.8 assists per game. Michale Kyser is 2nd in the league with 12 blocks, trailing FIU's Adrian Diaz, who has 15 blocks in just 4 games. 

Southern Miss took out a couple of Sun Belt goes in Troy and South Alabama. The schedule gets a little tougher with Drexel, North Dakota State, and Rhode Island coming up. Matt Bingaya leads the Eagles with 19.5 points per game. 

Marshall's Ryan Taylor (16.4) and UTSA's Jeromie Hill (16.3) are both in the top 5 in the conference in scoring. The two forwards also rank in the top four in rebounds along with Hunter and Thorne, Jr.

WKU's T.J. Price leads the league with 2.5 3-pointers made per game. Marshall's Austin Loop and Rice's Bishop Mency are just behind with 2.4 and 2.33 respectively. 

UTSA had a big win over rival Texas State. FIU beat in-state for Stetson. Western Kentucky fell one point short to Belmont, an NCAA tournament team. Middle Tennessee beat Northern Arizona and North Texas beat Nicholls State. 

MTSU gets a shot at Cincinnati this weekend while UNT takes on Arkansas. Marshall hosts South Carolina on Monday.

Sagarin currently has CUSA as the 15 best conference. Realtime RPI has CUSA at #17. Sagarin has Charlotte, UTEP, ODU, and LA Tech all ranked between 78-84. Massey has LA Tech at #64.  Realtime RPI has ODU ranked #1 in the country after finishing 4-0 against the 5th toughest schedule so far in the country.