Feb. 7, 2011

click here for coaches' Conference USA preseason poll

click here for coaches' preseason All-Conference USA team


Rice remains best in Conference USA


CollegeBaseballInsider.com asked college coaches around the country to preview the 2011 college baseball season by sharing their insights on the teams and players to watch in their conferences. CBI compiled their answers to provide a sneak peek for the season ahead. click here for CBI Conference Previews


Today, we take a look at Conference USA (six of nine coaches responded).


The team to beat is: *Rice


Rank the top three starting pitchers: *Seth Maness, East Carolina; *Todd McInnis, Southern Miss; Taylor Wall, Rice


The top closer is: *Collin Cargill, Southern Miss (pictured right)


The pitcher you least want to face is: Todd McInnis, Southern Miss


The most underrated pitcher is: Taylor Wall, Rice


The best defensive catcher is: Beau Taylor, UCF


The best catcher arm is: Jeremy Schaffer, Tulane


The best defensive infielder is: *Anthony Rendon, Rice


The best infield arm is: B.A. Vollmuth, Southern Miss


The best defensive outfielder is: (tie) Jamal Austin, UAB; and Drew Martinez, Memphis


The best outfield arm is: Jeremy Rathjen, Rice


Rank the three best pure hitters: *Anthony Rendon, Rice (pictured right); B.A. Vollmuth, Southern Miss; Chad Zurcher, Memphis


Rank the three biggest power threats: *Anthony Rendon, Rice; B.A. Vollmuth, Southern Miss; Victor Gomez, Marshall


The hitter you least want to face is: *Anthony Rendon, Rice


The toughest hitter to strike out is: Anthony Rendon, Rice


The most underrated hitter is: Drew Martinez, Memphis


The best base-runner is: Jamal Austin, UAB


The best game coach is: Wayne Graham, Rice


The assistant coach most ready for a head-coaching job is: (tie) David Pierce, Rice; and Chad Sutter, Tulane


*unanimous selection

(photos courtesy of Rice and Southern Miss Media Relations Offices)