Dating back six years, the ball has been in Memphis' court in Conference USA. This run includes five tournament titles, three undefeated conference slates (16-0 in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09), eight NBA Draft picks and despite being a top-ten team this year, their reign atop the C-USA is coming to an end. Not only has "the field" beat out Memphis in the final regular-season standings, but these teams are now gaining ground on Memphis in the recruiting game as well, an area where the Tigers have always excelled.
UCF started red-hot out of the gate with wins over in-staters Florida and Miami (FL), but fizzled in conference play. The future is bright this season with five returning starters, including second-team all-league pick Marcus Jordan and third-team pick Keith Clanton. Marshall, who finished just a game back in the standings from Memphis, is considered to be a favorite by some with third-team guard DeAndre Kane and top returning point guard in the C-USA Damier Pitts and two other starters coming back. Rice isn't a league-favorite yet by any means, but they are improving behind forward Arsalan Kazemi- they increased their win total by six to 14-18 last season. But perhaps the biggest challenger in the years to come will be the Houston Cougars; Houston has a top 100 power forward coming onto campus this year in coach James Dickey's six-man freshmen class and a pair of in-state top 100 recruits coming in next season.