Memphis Tigers basketball has reigned over the Conference USA five of the past seven regular-season and look poised again to do so in 2012-13, but do not be surprised if the Thundering Herd of Marshall sneak up to challenge for the crown.
A 9-7 conference record and 21 regular-season wins put Marshall in fifth place in C-USA, four games back of leader Memphis. But Memphis lost significant talent in Will Barton and Wesley Witherspoon, but second-place finisher Southern Miss lost three starters and its sixth man, while UCF is in no great shape without two of its top players not returning. That opens the door right up for Marshall.
Senior Dennis Tinnon, a 6'8" threat to battle inside, returns for a sixth year to complement potential C-USA Player of the Year candidate, DeAndre Kane. Kane was the team's leading scorer last year at 16.5 points per game despite shooting just 59.9 percent from the foul line and 25 percent from behind the arc. But Kane is versatile enough to play three positions on the floor at 6'4", an area where he thrived last season after averaging 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists, second on the team in both categories.
Memphis reloads with more young talent for seemingly another NCAA Tournament appearance, but Marshall will look to make their first NCAA appearance in 16 years next spring.