Jan. 26, 2012

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Rice is heavy favorite to win Conference USA


Rice was picked to win the regular season title in Conference USA, as voted by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.


The Owls, with sophomore right-hander Austin Kubitza (right), received eight first place votes to secure the top spot in the poll. Rice has won either the regular season or tournament title in each of its first six years as a member of C-USA. The Owls won both in 2011 and joined Southern Miss, East Carolina and UCF in the NCAA Tournament.


UCF picked up the remaining first place vote and placed second in the preseason poll, followed by East Carolina, Southern Miss, Houston, Tulane, Memphis, UAB and Marshall.


The 2012 campaign begins on Friday, Feb. 17, with all nine teams in action. Conference play starts on March 23. The top eight teams will compete in the 2012 C-USA Tournament, May 24-28 in Pearl, Miss.


2012 Conference USA Preseason Poll


Team (First Place) (2011 C-USA, Overall Records)

1. Rice (8) (16-8, 42-21)

2. UCF (1) (12-12, 39-23)

3. East Carolina (14-10, 41-21)

4. Southern Miss (16-8, 39-19)

5. Houston (12-12, 27-32)

6. Tulane (10-14, 31-26)

7. Memphis (12-12, 30-27)

8. UAB (9-15, 29-28)

9. Marshall (7-17, 20-31)


(photo courtesy of Rice Media Relations Office)