The goal for the Charlotte 49ers is simple as they prepare for their final two games of the regular season, a pair of contests at Halton Arena against Western Kentucky on Thursday and Marshall on Saturday.
“Nothing’s really changed for us,” said interim coach Ryan Odom. “We want to be playing our best basketball going into Birmingham.”
That’s where the Conference USA tournament will be played next week. There’s been nothing to suggest that the 49ers (13-16, 6-10) have a four-victories-in-four days run in them that would result in a tournament title, but Odom is still hopeful.
The 49ers, who were picked in the preseason by the league’s coaches to finish third in Conference USA, are in 11th place. But victories against Western Kentucky and Marshall could move Charlotte to as high as a tie for sixth place, should teams above the 49ers such as Rice, Middle Tennessee, Texas-San Antonio (as well as Marshall) falter this week.
“It’s self-explanatory at this point,” said Odom, whose team has won three of its past five games. “A lot of teams are playing well. That’s want you want in March, some excitement.”
Western Kentucky (18-10, 11-5) has won two in a row, but the Hilltoppers have struggled since opening the conference season with seven consecutive victories. The Hilltoppers are still in the mix for one of the top-four spots in the conference tournament, which would result in a first-round bye.