Marc Daniels' From the Press Box: Leftovers from Tulsa

March 15, 2010

By Marc Daniels

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - You know it was a long week when I woke up the other night and truly had to think about what town I was in. But thanks to a few extra flights and plenty of time to think, we deliver some nuggets from the week that was.

Tulsa did a great job as host of the Conference USA Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. But the problem surrounding the events is not their fault. The men played at the brand new arena in downtown Tulsa. It is a state of the art facility and the support staff was great. The problem is Tulsa's location. Aside from Memphis, no other team in the league brought many fans. Then once Memphis lost their first game, so went that support. The tournament must be held at a location where more than half of the school's fans can drive. UTEP is offering a sweet deal to host the event. Their venue is fine, but fan support will be a challenge. For now, my vote (and I don't have one) is to go back to Memphis. Whatever home court advantage they had in the past is still worth it to the league. Memphis fans supported the tournament in games when the Tigers did not play and it's a destination city where fans can get to easily. As for UCF hosting the event? Many in the league would love it. But the question is will college basketball fans in the area support the tournament?

UCF's win over SMU was a good experience for the many young players on the Knights roster. The loss to UTEP was another lesson for the team. UTEP has 12 juniors on its roster and its experience is valuable. For the Knights to close the gap on other top teams in the league this off-season. Look for more work in the weight room. C-USA has become a tougher league and more quality players in the paint mean Keith Clanton, A.J. Tyler and P.J. Gaynor must bulk up. In addition, Marcus Jordan showed flashes this season. His performance, along with Clanton's, earned all-freshman honors. Now Jordan must develop his outside shot and become a more complete player. The Knights will try and add some frontline beef. So will everyone else in the country.

The buzz among media at the C-USA Basketball tournament in regards to football is, UCF will be a team to watch. Houston is believed to be the team everyone expects to win the league, but others note UCF will play at Houston in what could be the league's biggest game of the season. The most asked question to me was who would be the quarterback for UCF? Other topics touched on is that the league must step up in games vs. BCS schools and win their share. C-USA still fights for national respect and everyone wonders who can become a Boise State. Houston believes it is them. UCF has a chance to make some noise with games against NC State and Kansas State.

Leftover notes: Hats off to the staff at C-USA Tournament in regards to media meals. When you get brisket, pulled pork, sausage, mac and cheese, cornbread and apple pie and ice cream all in one meal, you deserve praise...Former Chicago Bulls' guard B.J. Armstrong showed up at the tournament. He looks 20 and could probably still play...Two UTEP fans brought in actual mining picks to games in Tulsa. How they were able to get that in when security checked my bag and questioned what my microphone was used for, I can't figure...Visited six states last Friday. I had to drive from Tulsa to Fayetteville, Ark., to get home. Got lost on the drive and ended up driving from Arkansas to Oklahoma to Missouri, back to Arkansas, flew to Texas, then to North Carolina before reaching Florida...Best sign on my drive was in Jay, Okla. The population is around 3,000. The help wanted sign at the convenience store I stopped at for directions was looking for help for the 4 p.m.-midnight shift. The last line on the sign said, "Please note if you accept the position, you will not be able to take Friday nights off to attend Jay High School football games." That my friends is a passionate football town...We'll talk spring football next week. Until then, I am off to sleep in my own bed.

Marc Daniels' From the Press Box runs several times per month on UCFAthletics.com. Listen to Marc during UCF football, men's basketball and baseball radio broadcasts on the UCF-ISP Sports Network. Each weekday, Marc hosts "The Beat of Sports" on ESPN 1080 in Orlando from 9-11 a.m.