HUNTINGTON — Conference USA is setting up for a huge weekend of games that could shake up the league’s men’s basketball standings.
The only question remaining is whether those contests take place as scheduled.
While COVID-19 has dictated the landscape of college basketball so far this season, this week it is a massive winter storm that is jeopardizing the play of games.
The storm’s impact reached from Texas to the Southeast and up the East Coast, and has knocked out power and travel capabilities in many states.
That means the impact of the storms could knock out games in those states as well.
Decisions on those games should be made in the coming days, but as of now, there is an intriguing slate of games scheduled.
Those cross-divisional games could shape the divisional standings for each as the stretch run of Conference USA action winds down over the next three weeks.
The weekend’s biggest matchup involves two teams atop each division as Western Kentucky travels to North Texas to take on the Mean Green in Denton, Texas, this weekend. Games are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Another impactful series takes place in Birmingham, Alabama, as UAB — tied with North Texas atop the West — hosts Old Dominion, which is one game back in the East standings.
UAB is 16-4 on the season but is coming off back-to-back losses at Louisiana Tech, which is also tied for the West Division lead.
The Monarchs are one game back of Western Kentucky, but only one game ahead of Marshall in the East Division.
The Thundering Herd travels to Rice, which started out the conference season strong but has faded of late, losing six of eight games.
All three of the top teams in the East Division are on the road at West Division foes this week, meaning the team that performs best on the road is in prime position to make a move.
That favors the Herd, which has seen success on the road at some tough Conference USA venues. Marshall is responsible for the lone home blemishes for Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion this season.
The Herd nearly pulled off a sweep at ODU as well, blowing a 21-point lead for a one-point loss that could end up heavily impacting the standings.
As mentioned before, Louisiana Tech is tied for tops in the standings in the West with UAB and North Texas, but the Bulldogs have a tricky matchup at Middle Tennessee looming this weekend.
The Blue Raiders swept Charlotte in their last series at home and found some offensive firepower behind Jalen Jordan in the trip to Huntington last weekend against the Herd.
Both Marshall and Louisiana Tech have matchups that could see them gain ground this weekend, but each has to take care of business on the road to do so.
Other crossover games in the league that will also play a role include UTSA heading to Charlotte, UTEP traveling to Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss heading to FIU.