Men’s Basketball Hoping To Climb Through Tough C-USA

Devon Andrews was the C-USA player of the week last week. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics

Alex Rivera/Staff Writer

With two road losses in C-USA play, FIU Basketball finds themselves in a different position than they were a week ago. 

FIU started conference play against UTEP, while at one point holding a large lead, ended up winning a game that came down to two points. In their second home game, this time against UTSA, FIU was able to comeback from losing at the half to win by 7.

But a week ago, the 2-0 Panthers went on the road for their first road games in C-USA against two other Texas sides: North Texas and Rice. North Texas had started their homestand after going 1-1 on the road, while 0-3 Rice picked up their first victory against the Panthers. 

As it stands right now, the Panthers’ 4-2 record put them fifth in C-USA standings with 8 games to go. While it has only been six games (five in the case of Charlotte and Old Dominion), three of FIU’s next games will be against sides that are ahead in the standings. 

That is not to say that FIU does not stand a chance against those sides, or that teams below them in stands will be easy, there have already been instances where teams with worse records can win games. Records can be deceiving when it comes to the performance of a team, since some games come in the form of three points separating a win from a loss. 

This week the Panthers will faced UAB and Middle Tennessee. UAB was 0-2 on the road and has in the last three seasons have been weak in getting away wins, benefitting the Panthers. The win against UAB helped improve the Panther’s position in standings, since both were tied at 2-2 a piece. And FIU was able to get the easy win against Middle Tennessee, a side that is winless with only one game that was decided by less than five points.

This week FIU heads to Norfolk to play against Old Dominion before going to Charlotte to face the 49ers. 

Old Dominion are currently 2-4 after losing their last three games. Their only wins come from home games, against both UAB and Middle Tennessee, which puts them ninth in C-USA standings.

As for Charlotte, the side received their first loss of the season Saturday night against WKU, giving them a 4-1 record. Much like Old Dominion, Charlotte has yet to lost a home game this season. 

Both Charlotte and Old Dominion will rejoin the rest of C-USA having played six games on Monday, as they’ll play each other at Old Dominion at 4:00pm.

For the Panthers, they’ve shown home games are their strong suit, being undefeated at home this season. But with only three home games left on the regular season schedule, getting a bye in the playoffs will force FIU to search for away wins this week. 

With only six games, the standings have not been spread to an extent where there are clear contenders for the quarterfinal bye, but after game eight, there will be a better picture. 

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