On Wednesday afternoon, we continued conference previews with the Conference USA. Every week on Twitter, we will do two conferences from the Mid-Major Madness account (@mid_madness), speaking with media members and coaches from throughout the selected league.
For the full Twitter Space, hit the link below.
To open up the conversation, Schmidt and us recapped just what happened in the CUSA last season. Although UAB won the conference tournament and battled one of the most under-seeded teams in tournament history in Houston, many other things shined a bright light on the league. Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton owned the NBA Draft Combine, North Texas played a low-scoring thriller with Virginia in the NIT, Western Kentucky lost a five-star recruit and Middle Tennessee seems to have rebuilt under Nick McDevitt. Also, the league lost two members in Old Dominion and Southern Mississippi.
North Texas head coach Grant McCasland (12:10) then came on to talk about the strong program that he has built and the bigger message around basketball.
“Ultimately, I think we all have an opportunity daily to figure out, “like are you going to try to give or are you going to try to get,” said McCasland, “For my heart, it’s honestly to give perspective. That in life, the more you try to get sometimes its at the expense of other people and the more you try to give and I love the story of Jesus Christ, I genuinely do. In the Bible it talks about “he came to serve and not to be served”.”
The Mean Green finished their fifth winning season so far in the five-year McCasland tenure, falling to Virginia in the second round of the NIT after winning the Conference USA regular season title.
Following him, Middle Tennessee State head coach Nick McDevitt (38:25) came to talk about the program that he rebuilt in Murfreesboro. The Blue Raiders had their first winning season under him in his four-year tenure.
“I think our guys played hard but also played for each other, not just with each other,” said McDevitt, “It’s one of the more close-knit groups that I’ve ever been around in 25 years in college basketball.”
Closing out the conversations with coaches, UAB head coach Andy Kennedy (1:08:20) talked about bringing his alma mater back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. The Blazers will be a fringe Top 25 team heading into this season.
“That’s the reason that we came and took on this challenge,” said Kennedy, “I remember when UAB was relevant not only in the community but on a national stage and that’s our goal to get it back on a national level.”
Alex and Nick then continued to talk about the teams in the league, previewing every one. To hear about your team, advance the recording to each time stamp.
34:50 Florida Atlantic
37:05 Louisiana Tech
1:01:55 Western Kentucky
1:04:25 POY & Title Predictions
Along with the Conference USA, Mid-Major Madness also previewed the Horizon League this week. Stay tuned for a preview article on the league next week along with touching on the American Athletic and SWAC.