The 2013-14 basketball version of Conference USA won't exactly be a threat to the "Power Six" leagues and probably won't be as deep as the current alignment. Still, I'm not worried about it.
The league loses one of five teams currently without a conference loss, Memphis, but will gain another. And beware of Louisiana Tech - the Bulldogs are plundering the Western Athletic Conference and won't lose much for their C-USA entrance.
The Bulldogs (24-3, 14-0) are led by Raheem Appleby, the only double-figure scorer with 14.7 per game. The wiry sophomore guard has shot more than twice the shots of the No. 2 scorer, Cordarius Johnson (8.7), a 6-5 junior guard. Both will return, along with leading rebounder and shot-blocker Michale Kyser, a 6-9 sophomore.
Tech will lose 13 percent of its points and 15.8 percent of its rebounds from two departing seniors. That's it.
Another newcomer, Middle Tennessee State (25-4, 17-1) has won 14 in a row and lapped the Sun Belt's East Division field. Herd fans will remember the Blue Raiders as the well-rested team that ambushed MU in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament last season.
The Blue Raiders need to make their splash this year it seems, because they'll lose a lot - they have 10 players averaging 10 or more minutes per game, but seven of them are seniors. The top returning player appears to be Shawn Jones (8.6 points, 5.5 rebounds), a 6-8 junior.
North Carolina-Charlotte is 18-7 overall but 6-5 in the Atlantic 10, and is looking at an NIT bid. Back in the Sun Belt, Richard Pitino-coached Florida International is 10-8 in the league and 15-12 overall.
The other four schools are a combined 18-47 in conference play.
Apparently, Conference USA's television partners don't research their subject matter very well.
When Comcast Sports Southeast televised the Herd's home game against UCF, they had to be told the Knights were playing under an NCAA postseason ban, and were surprised that coach Donnie Jones might just be booed in Huntington.
Fox Sports Net was no better this past weekend. During Saturday's Memphis-Southern Miss game, the crew went over the top teams and their tournament situation, graphics and all, and analyzed UCF's "chances" in depth.
When UCF loses its NCAA appeal and serves its football bowl ban in 2013, somebody needs to alert the Big East's TV partners.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.