Kenyon Martin, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose -- a former NBA All-Star, a two-time NBA Champion and 2010-11's NBA Most Valuable Player.
And each has played in the annual Conference USA Championship Basketball Tournament.
For the second time in its 18-year existence, the annual tournament will be held in Tulsa. Set for March 13 -- 16, the Conference USA tournament will be held at the BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center and provide fans with upwards of eight games from the likes of the conference's men's and women's basketball programs.
In short, the tournament will bring Conference USA's best ballers to Tulsa for four action-packed days to crown a champion for the 2012-13 season.
But there's much more at stake than just a C-USA tournament title. The winner also receives an automatic bid to one of sports' most anticipated events, the NCAA Division I Championship Tournament -- or as it's more commonly known, March Madness.
With such high stakes, each conference's post-season tournament provides much excitement as seemingly also-ran teams are suddenly within reach of the Promised Land.
For the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, this season has been a merry-go-round of sorts. First-year head coach Danny Manning's squad entered 2012 in search of a new identity. After failing to reach the NCAA Tournament for a tenth consecutive season, Tulsa looked to Manning to provide a much needed spark to return the Golden Hurricane to the once-familiar ranks of March Madness contestants.
But Manning's inaugural season has been more about growing pains than glory. With a record of 15-13 through March 2, and with two games remaining, Tulsa's 2012-13 record will be no better than last year's 17-14 mark. In conference play, the Golden Hurricane are currently 7-7, and even if they win their final two conference games against Houston and SMU, they'll still fall one win shy of last year's record.
Tulsa's lone hope to return to the NCAA tournament, however, will offer them a veritable home court advantage, and if they can somehow walk away as conference champs, Manning's initial season in Tulsa could be the best the city has seen in a decade.
As has been the norm over much of the last decade, the University of Memphis Tigers are the favorite heading into this year's tournament. While amassing an impressive record at 25-4 -- which includes a perfect 14-0 in Conference USA matchups thus far -- Memphis looks to be a favorite to not only win this year's C-USA tournament, but also make a run for the coveted NCAA national championship.
Led by sophomore forward Adonis Thomas, the Tigers look to make a run for their seventh C-USA championship in the last eight years.
Memphis' main competition in this year's tournament looks to be an up and coming Southern Miss Golden Eagles team led by junior forward Dwayne Davis. The Eagles accumulated a 22-7 regular season record in 2012-13, with an 11-3 record in Conference USA play.
While Southern Miss hasn't garnered the same amount of national acclaim Memphis has enjoyed, the Golden Eagles look to be capable of reaching the C-USA tournament's finals, en route to what they hope will be a second consecutive NCAA tournament bid.
In the women's tournament, things don't look much more promising for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Second-year coach Matilda Mossman's squad has compiled a 12-16 record this season and a 7-8 mark in conference play.
The bright spot for the women's squad is senior guard Taleya Mayberry. On the season, Mayberry ranks fourth in Conference USA in scoring (17.8 ppg), seventh in assists (3.7 apg) and second in free-throw percentage (.804). If the Tulsa women are to make any sort of run in the C-USA Tournament, they'll have to rely heavily on the play of Mayberry and, quite possibly, a bevy of upsets in the early rounds.
Three teams in the women's tournament are regular season champions SMU, East Carolina and Tulane. With records of 21-7, 21-7 and 22-6, respectively, the Conference USA Tournament will most likely come down to a matchup between two of these three juggernauts.
The action promises to be intense on both the men and women's side of the tournament's schedule. The old adage in sports is "just make the post-season and anything can happen." For seniors on teams not expected to be invited to the NCAA tournament, this could mean the end of a career -- more than enough motivation to make things interesting.
While men's teams like Memphis and Southern Miss, and women's squads like SMU and Tulane are early favorites to be crowned 2012-13 champions, anything can happen in a single-elimination post-season tournament.
Stars will emerge and upsets will undoubtedly occur.
And at the very least, those in attendance may get a chance to witness the emergence of the next Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose.
All-session passes to the event start at $47. For more information visit bokcenter.com.
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