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Conference USA tournament creates Point Spread Interest

The days of Memphis mashing all Conference USA comers is over and UTEP and Houston are both poised to win the conference tournament this week and advance to March Madness. But the fact the Tigers went on a 13-3 SU run to end the season makes this an intriguing tournament at Bank of Oklahoma Center for both fans and college basketball bettors. Ditto the strength of UAB (which was ranked in December) and the fact Marshall has the potential to play spoiler. The opening round goes today with preseason favorite Tulsa battling Rice in a match most felt the Golden Hurricane would bypass – but they slumped badly and here they are, favored by two TDs against the Owls. Here are the latest Conference USA tournament odds and a preview for all four games today.

East Carolina +12.5 vs Houston -12.5 Odds from Bovada - 1 ET – {URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/Stats/Matchups/Basketball/NCAAB/12 }[ Conference USA matchup reports ]{/URL} Houston is 7-1 SU and 6-1-1 ATS its past eight meetings with 10-20 East Carolina and they are favored big to do it again today. Both teams look to rebound from regular-season-ending losses but 15-15 Houston gets the edge here.

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Tulane +7 vs Southern Mississippi -7 Odds from Bovada - 3:30 ET – {URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/Stats/Matchups/Basketball/NCAAB/12 }[ Conference USA matchup reports ]{/URL} Tulane is overmatched on paper, bringing an 8-21 mark against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles hold statistical edges in most key categories but two should cause concern for bettors – Tulane can shoot the 3-ball and they are ballhawks, averaging 2.5 more per game than Southern Miss.

Rice +13.5 vs Tulsa -13.5 - Odds from Bovada - 7 p.m. ET - {URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/Stats/Matchups/Basketball/NCAAB/12 }[ Conference USA matchup reports ]{/URL} Tulsa did not expect to be in this situation and most C-USA observers feel they will romp here against Rice (8-22). Tulsa has struggled against the college basketball point spread lately going 2-11-1 ATS but have dominated the Owls (5-1 ATS past 6 meetings). Of note, Tulsa barely beat Rice as 19.5 point favorites in January so a back-door cover is plausible here for the Owls.

UCF +2 vs SMU – 2 – Odds from Bovada - 9 :30 ET – {URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/Stats/Matchups/Basketball/NCAAB/12 }[ Conference USA matchup reports ]{/URL} A pair of teams with identical 14-16 SU records battles for the right to advance to the next round of the C-USA tournament. Statistically, the teams are almost identical and they have alternated wins the past five meetings. The Conference USA basketball odds on the game (-2) reflect this uncertainty.