Marshall (9-9) at Southern Miss (15-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Green Coliseum (8,095) -- Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Television: Comcast Sports South, WCHS. Home Record: MU 8-2, USM 7-0. Away Record: MU 0-5, USM 6-4. Neutral Record: MU 1-2, USM 2-0. Conference Record: MU 2-1, USM 4-0. Series Record: Marshall leads, 8-6.
GAME NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd begin a treacherous two-game road swing with a visit to Reed Green Coliseum for a Conference USA battle against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Marshall, which is coming off of a 77-56 rout of East Carolina, will next travel to FedExForum to tangle with the Memphis Tigers. The Thundering Herd improved to 9-9 on the season and 2-1 in the C-USA standings with their win over the Pirates, which was their second over the past three games. Star combo guard DeAndre Kane looked to be fully recovered from his injured shooting hand injury that kept him out for three games, as he tallied a team-high 22 points to go along with eight assists and three steals versus ECU. Elijah Pittman added 19 points while Dennis Tinnon notched a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards.
The 2012-13 Southern Miss unit is not going to be quite as easy to knock off, as it is playing exceptionally well in Donnie Tyndall's first season at the helm of the program. The Golden Eagles notched their seventh consecutive victory on Saturday by coasting past UAB, 74-59, to rise their record to 15-4. USM has now won all four of its C-USA games by an average of 15.3 points. Senior forward Dwayne Davis provides 12.9 points per game to lead a group of eight Golden Eagles that contribute at least 5.9 ppg. Jonathan Mills is leading the team on the glass with 6.7 rpg and Neil Watson deals out 4.9 assists per contest.
The Thundering Herd own an 8-6 all-time series lead against the Golden Eagles, including their 73-62 victory over USM in the 2012 C-USA Tournament.
Marshall's Kane, a Preseason All-C-USA First Team member is second on the squad in scoring (14.6) and fifth in the nation in assists with 7.6 per contest. Pittman is netting a team-high 14.7 ppg while D.D. Scarver (13.8 ppg) and Tinnon (10.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg) both play vital roles for coach Tom Herrion's team. Rebounding continues to be the strength of the Herd as it ranks second in the conference and is tied for 16th in Division I on the boards with 40.7 per game. It also tops the conference and ranks seventh in the NCAA with 15.2 offensive rebounds per game.
USM's balanced attack may not be producing any league leaders in the scoring column, but it has led to a C-USA low 58.1 points allowed per game on the defensive end. The Golden Eagles have held seven of their last eight opponents below the 60-point mark and have lost just once this year when doing so. Finding scoring never seems to be an issue thanks to the depth of the team. Cedric Jenkins provided a spark with 13 points in 16 minutes of action versus UAB while Davis, Watson, and Mills all scored in double-figures to combine for 33 points. The Golden Eagles, who entered the game ranked second nationally with 11.8 steals per game, forced 20 turnovers on the strength of 15 steals.
Marshall is a much better team than its record indicates as it lost twice on buzzer beaters and suffered three additional setbacks to elite teams in Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Ohio University. The Thundering Herd's success on the glass in addition to the full return of Kane will keep them in this one. Handing the Golden Eagles their first home loss of the season though, will take a huge effort.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marshall 66, Southern Miss 64
01/23 10:34:42 ET