Wednesday, February 6, 2013
What to make of Southern Miss
By Luke Lapinski
Southern Miss has only made three trips to the Big Dance in school history. One was last season, but it came after a 21-year hiatus. And the losses of four of the Golden Eagles' top five scorers in the offseason -- as well as head coach Larry Eustachy -- tempered any national expectations for the program in Hattiesburg heading into the 2012-13 campaign.
New coach Donnie Tyndall has his club playing good basketball though. In fact, Southern Miss is right there with heavy favorite Memphis at the top of the Conference USA standings right now. Juco import Dwayne Davis has been big for the Eagles, leading the way with 13.0 points per game while also chipping in 4.5 rebounds. Jerrold Brooks is another transfer who has stepped in to contribute immediately and, as a team, Southern Miss is knocking down its shots at a 49.2 percent clip. That's good for No. 8 in the nation, and a major reason why Tyndall's group is 7-0 in conference play so far (18-4 overall).
Ken Pomeroy lists the Eagles as one of the biggest conference surprises in the country so far, and his website rates them at No. 33 overall. The Tigers still loom as the team to beat in Conference USA, but Southern Miss will get the opportunity -- twice, including this Saturday -- to change that in the coming weeks.