C-USA: The "S" Stands for Strength

By Jean Neuberger - October 12, 2006

During the first session here at Media Days, UCF's Gail Striegler, Houston's Joe Curl, and Southern Mississippi's Joye Lee-McNelis were adamant in addressing the overall strength and quality of Conference USA this season.

"The league is way up from last year," said Striegler, whose Golden Knights are in their second season in Conference USA. "Over 70 percent of the players who played last year are returning this year, and some big time players are returning. This conference has become very competitive."

"It's a conference on the move," said Curl. "We lost some great basketball programs in Louisville and Cincinnati to the Big East, and this year, we've got to prove ourselves. However, we should have no trouble proving ourselves, as we have great coaches, great players, and great campuses in Conference USA."

"The best thing about being in this league," said Lee-McNelis, "is that we're so young. People are going to be really surprised at how strong this conference is. However, we still have to prove ourselves as a strong conference. It's very important for us to win those out-of-conference games, so our conference can get multiple bids."

And while each coach also described their team's strengths and weaknesses, they all came back to the same message. Conference USA is a very young and very tough conference this year.

Seems like early on, we've got a theme for today here in Tulsa.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 08:35 PM on October 12, 2006

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