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Conference USA Notebook Week 12: Major Showdown Between Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech On Tap

Western Kentucky (7-0) and Louisiana Tech (6-1) face off in Ruston on Thursday with first place in Conference USA hanging in the balance. UAB heads to UTEP on Thursday for a tough test against the Miners. Both games will air on CBS Sports.

LA Tech has to deal with a load in George Fant on Thursday.
LA Tech has to deal with a load in George Fant on Thursday.
Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports


Western Kentucky has won nine games in a row and 11 of its last 12. The Hilltoppers only lost in that stretch was to then No. 4 Louisville.

Louisiana Tech has won seven of its last eight, with the sole loss coming on the road against North Texas last week. The Bulldogs have won 22 straight home games, with their last loss in the TAC coming on Dec. 4, 2013, against Louisiana Lafayette.


UAB knocked off Old Dominion on Saturday. Tosin Mehinti led the way for the Blazers with 12 points and seven rebounds. UAB had six players score at least nine points. Aaron Bacote had 23 and Trey Freeman had 18 for the Monarchs.

UAB's only loss is to Louisiana Tech on the road. If the Blazers can survive in El Paso on Thursday, they can keep pace with Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech at the top of the conference standings.


George Fant has emerged as a force for Western Kentucky this year. The senior forward leads CUSA in rebounding with 11.6 boards per game in conference play. Fant is fifth in CUSA scoring at 18.4 points per game.

  • Dennis Mavin of FIU leads the league in scoring at 19.8 points per game, followed by Jeromie Hill of UTSA (19.4), Marcus Jackson of Rice (19.3) and Lousiana Tech's Alex Hamilton at 19.0 point per game.
  • UTEP's Vince Hunter is second behind Fant with 9.6 rebounds per game. Marshall's Ryan Taylor is next with 8.3 per game.
  • UAB's Chris Cokley leads the league in field goal percentage at 72.2 percent and FIU's Adrian Diaz (69.4%) and Charlotte's Willie Clayton (68.3%) are both right behind him.
  • LA Tech's Speedy Smith leads CUSA in assists with 7.21 per game and Pierria Henry of Charlotte is next with 6.29 per game.  Henry leads the league in steals with 3.29 per game.
  • Middle Tennessee's Darnell Harris leads CUSA in three point shooting at 52.6 percent, but Marcus Jackson of Rice has already put up 57 attempts and is making 49.1 percent of them.
  • FIU's Adrian Diaz (2.80), UAB's Tosin Mehinti (2.43), and LA Tech's Michale Kyser (2.14) lead the league in blocks.


The conference's RPI took a hit over the week with a few of the top teams being upset.

  • Sagarin has four teams still in the Top 100:  Old Dominion is 61, UTEP is 79, LA Tech is 86, and WKU is 100.
  • Massey has Old Dominion at 65, WKU at 74, LA Tech at 80, and UTEP at 104.
  • KenPom has ODU at 66, LA Tech at 77, UTEP at 89, and WKU at 99.
  • RealTimeRPI has ODU at 39, WKU at 65, UTEP at 101, and LA Tech at 104.