Either SMU or Memphis will finally be able to celebrate its first AAC victory on Saturday night, after the two former Conference USA members face off at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Jordan Swing scored 17 points, including a layup with 9 seconds to play, and UAB beat SMU 53-52 in the opener of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday.
Jim Larranaga’s team has had a banner season, but they’ll likely have to beat Duke for a second time this season — this time with Ryan Kelly — to reinforce their potential to go deep in the NCAA Tournament.
Julian Washburn had 20 points and eight rebounds as UTEP closed out the regular season with a 76-63 victory over SMU on Saturday.
Conference USA, which is expanding to 14 members even with four leaving for the Big East in 2013, announced its football schedule and new division alignments Wednesday.
SMU accepted its invitation last week. SMU Athletics Director Rick Hart said the game is a tremendous reward for the school’s players. SMU finished second in Conference USA’s West Division.
SMU has accepted an invitation to play in the Hawaii Bowl. SMU will meet a team from the Mountain West on Christmas Eve at Aloha Stadium.
Central Florida was eyeing a return to Conference USA championship game last year before a 21-point loss at Southern Methodist sent the Knights into a 2-5 tailspin to end the season.
The New Year’s Day bowl game at the Cotton Bowl has a new sponsor. The Heart of Dallas Bowl will debut Jan. 1 with teams from the Big 12 and Big Ten.
This is the last C-USA season for SMU, Houston, Central Florida and Memphis before going to the Big East.
Conference USA seems to be in a perpetual cycle of change. There are five new coaches among the league’s 12 teams.
Hart will replace Steve Orsini, who was fired May 17, a month after SMU hired Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown. Orsini had been SMU’s athletic director since 2006.