In the most recent installement in Jon Teitel's interview series he caught up with Ricky Pierce, who followed up one of the greatest careers in Rice history with a long professional career.
Jon Teitel: You started at Walla Walla CC before ending up at Rice. Why did you choose Walla Walla, and why did you end up at Rice?
Wednesday was a big night in Conference USA with the top six teams in the standings playing each other. And with the results the race is now pared down to four teams separated by one game, with Tulsa and UTEP both coming back from double-digit deficits while Memphis beat UAB in a game much tighter than the 85-75 final would indicate. There were 31 lead changes, with the Tigers taking the lead for good on a pair of Wesley Witherspoon free throws with 3:40 remaining.
With the bubble looking rather pedestrian at this early stage no team can afford to pass up opportunities to bolster their tournament resumes. And with the top six teams in Conference USA playing each other on Wednesday night they'll all have a chance to do just that. Two of the games (Houston/UTEP and Marshall/Tulsa) feature home teams who haven't lost at home while the third (UAB/Memphis) features a team that has yet to lose on the road.
With Memphis in flux following the departure of John Calipari, this might be the year someone like Tulsa, Houston, or UTEP breaks through. The other contenders better act quickly as Memphis has locked up a monster recruiting class next year..
No football on Wednesday night (Game 1 of the World Series) but there is a game on Tuesday, with East Carolina (4-3, 3-1) hitting the road to take on Memphis (2-5, 1-3) at 8 PM on ESPN2. The Pirates, who are looking to defend their Conference USA title, got off to a slow start this season with losses to West Virginia and North Carolina but they've won three of their last four games.