Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Opportunity awaits Southern Miss as conference play approaches

December 28, 2013 Columns 1 Comment

SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. – Southern Miss has done a lot of good things in non-conference play. The latest is their 77-64 win at Rhode Island on Saturday, one that is in sum a good statement of where this team is. With just one game left before Conference USA play, there is an added challenge for this team, but there is also opportunity.

The Golden Eagles are an experienced and balanced bunch, as the five starters all average between nine and 12 points per game. Nine players average double-digit minutes, with only point guard Neil Watson averaging more than 28 per game. They have four seniors who play a lot of minutes and several juniors right behind them.

In Saturday’s win, they played like that kind of team. They got off to a fast start, but gave the early lead away, then had to fend off a late rally after building another good lead. Rhode Island scored nine unanswered points to get within 64-62 with 5:15 left, and the Rams seemed to have all the momentum in addition to the home crowd. But Southern Miss scored the next 11 points to put the Rams away.

“We’re an upperclassmen-type team, and we’d like to think in tough environments against a good team, even when things don’t go your way, you keep your head up and keep plugging away, and I thought that was the case tonight,” said head coach Donnie Tyndall.

This is an athletic team, and they turn teams over nearly 18 times per game, which leads Conference USA. Defense has been a strong suit for this team, and they have been a strong rebounding team, but all of that will be put to the test more in conference play. They didn’t turn Rhode Island over as much, forcing just 12 for the game, but they held the Rams to 41.3 percent from the field and hammered them on the glass by a 37-22 margin.

Their frontcourt starters, Michael Craig and Jeremiah Eason, can each be a load to handle inside, but they’re both undersized. Craig had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the balanced attack on Saturday. They alone don’t rebound, but they are the first line of rebounders.

Tyndall feels like his team is playing the way he wants them to, especially their last few games. He wants to play fast, but he’s been around the game long enough to understand that it’s tough to win championships just by pressing and speeding teams up. So while they can press and want to at times, that’s not all they do, and that’s why it will bode well if they can keep up what they have done thus far at the defensive end.

“You’ve got to be able to defend in the halfcourt, you’ve got to be able to run good offense in the halfcourt,” said Tyndall after his team shot 51 percent on Saturday.

Southern Miss sports a nice 12-2 record, but as has been the case over the years, it is a little deceiving. The Golden Eagles have two wins over non-Division I teams and haven’t defeated a team that looks like a lock for the NCAA Tournament, with their best win likely being the one at North Dakota State in November. They have lost at Louisville and at Western Kentucky. Their remaining non-conference game against Drexel at home won’t help the profile much, and resume-building wins aren’t going to come in conference play.

Still, there’s something else at hand for this program. With Memphis off to the American Athletic Conference, there’s a big opening for someone to become the signature program in Conference USA. Southern Miss has won more Conference USA games the past three seasons (32) than any current member has, so they are one team with the potential along with the likes of UAB and Charlotte, who have both had good non-conference runs this season. The Golden Eagles have had one of their best stretches of late, having won 20 or more games the last four seasons, just the second time that has happened in a program in its 95th year (it has been in Division I since 1972).

The Golden Eagles will head into Conference USA play as one of the favorites. There is something to be said for winning games, as it should give this team plenty of confidence. They have a veteran nucleus and a coach who has had success and knows the game well in Tyndall. Four of their first six conference games will be on the road, another reason Saturday’s win helps. Thus far, the Golden Eagles have done a lot of good things, and that will help with the opportunity that is ahead of them.

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Ricky Samsonia says:

    Tyndall is the kind of coach that players love to play for, he connects with these guys, they respect him.

    Therefore this is a fun program to watch from the HC to the players on the floor!

    When you go to one of their games you get your money’s worth! Alway lots of intense action!

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.