Tulane (16-8) at Southern Miss (18-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 13, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Green Coliseum (8,095) -- Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Television: None. Home Record: Tulane 13-2, USM 8-1. Away Record: Tulane 2-6, USM 8-4. Neutral Record: Tulane 1-0, USM 2-1. Conference Record: Tulane 4-5, USM 7-2. Series Record: Tulane leads, 40-34.
GAMES NOTES: The Southern Miss Golden Eagles will try to stop the bleeding and keep pace at the top of the Conference USA standings when they take on the Tulane Green Wave at Reed Green Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Tulane is trying to drag itself back into contention in the C-USA after having posted back-to-back wins for the first time in league play. The Green Wave are 16-8 overall but have been a disappointing 4-5 in league play. Tulane is just 2-6 on the road this season but will return home to host SMU in its next bout.
After sprinting out of the gates with wins in its first seven league tilts, part of a 10-game winning streak overall, Southern Miss has stumbled of late with back-to-back losses to UCF and Memphis. Those teams are the top tier of the C-USA right now with the Tigers undefeated in league action, while Southern Miss and the Knights are both tied at 7-2 for second place. Southern Miss boasts an impressive 18-6 overall record and its success at home (8-1) is well documented. The Golden Eagles will take a trip to face East Carolina next time out.
The last time Tulane earned a victory against Southern Miss was during the 2009 campaign. The Golden Eagles have won six straight since then and nine of the last 10. Even so Tulane still leads the all-time series, 40-34.
Though Tulane trailed by 19 points at one time against Houston, the Green Wave rallied for an 88-85 win. Ricky Tarrant (27 points), Kendall Timmons (22 points) and Josh Davis (21 points, 12 rebounds) each put up some gaudy numbers in the victory in which Tulane scored 22 points off turnovers and had a 16-6 edge in second chance points.
Tulane has gotten hot offensively during its small winning streak, averaging 89.5 points per game during the two contests. That is far beyond what the Green Wave has done on average this season. Tulane is scoring 66.8 points per game and shooting the second worst percentage from the field (.413) among C- USA teams. A lot of that has to do with the lack of ball movement for Tulane on the offensive side as it has handed out the fewest assists (10.7 pg) in the league. Tulane does hold foes to 61 points per game though. Big numbers from Davis (17.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg) and Tarrant (15.4 ppg) have come to be expected even though Tarrant is shooting just 36.5 percent from the field. Davis is the league's top rebounder and second best scorer and the only player in the conference to be averaging a double-double for the season.
Southern Miss had trouble slowing down Memphis in its loss on Saturday. The Golden Eagles allowed the Tigers to hit 66.9 percent of their shots from the floor, including 9-of-19 from beyond the arc as they wasted a 25-point outburst from Dwayne Davis.
The Golden Eagles still showed how efficient they can be on offense in the losing effort as the conference's best shooting team (.486) knocked in 47.7 percent of their shots from the field. Southern Miss is just fourth in the league in scoring (73.7 ppg) but has largely been far ahead of its foes by holding them to 59.7 points per game on 39.7 percent shooting. Davis (13.4 ppg) is the top scoring threat for the Golden Eagles who have a bit more scoring balance than Tulane with six players scoring at least eight points per game. Jerrold Brooks (10.5 ppg) stands in as the second option as well as the only other player in double figures. Neil Watson (9.1 ppg, 5.0 apg) and Jonathan Mills (9.0 ppg) each shoot better than 47 percent from the field while giving healthy contributions in assists and rebounds, respectively.
For Southern Miss a win is desperately needed if it wants any hope of challenging Memphis for the C-USA regular season crown. The Golden Eagles will certainly be given a tough test from Davis and Tarrant but should be able to weather the storm.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 74, Tulane 67
02/13 10:36:19 ET