BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - By virtue of its 8-10 record in league play, Rice University men's basketball tied for seventh place in the final regular season Conference USA standings and earned the ninth seed in next week's championship tournament. The Owls will face No. 8 seed North Texas in Wednesday's opening round. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT and the contest will be televised on the American Sports Network.
Wednesday's winner advances to face No. 1 seed LA Tech in Thursday's quarterfinal round. That game is also set for 8:30 p.m. and will be televised on ASN.
In Wednesday's other opening round matchups, no. 7 UTSA faces No. 10 FIU at noon, No. 6 Middle Tennessee faces No. 11 Charlotte at 2:30 p.m. and No. 5 Western Kentucky squares off with No,. 12 Marshall at 6 p.m. No. 2 UTEP, No. 3 Old Dominion and No. 4 UAB await those games' winners on Thursday. All of Wednesday and Thursday's game will be televised on ASN.
The Mean Green (14-16, 8-10) won both meetings with Rice earlier this season, including a 66-63 nail biter in Houston on Jan. 10 and a 75-65 decision in Denton on Jan. 31. Wednesday's game is also a rematch from last season's C-USA Championship opening round, when NT escaped with a 63-62 overtime win against the Owls in El Paso.
Friday's semifinals are set for 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network and Saturday's championship will air on Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 p.m.