Saturday, November 30, 2013

CBB/CUSA Notes - November 30

First of all, major props to Coach Monken and the USM football team. One of my all-time favorite wins as a Golden Eagle fan.

C-USA recap from 11/30/13

C-USA went .500 today (4-4 to be exact) in hoops today. MTSU's win over South Alabama was probably the marquee conference win of the day. The Blue Raiders came back from 8 down at halftime to get the win.

Worst loss from a C-USA team today goes to Marshall who lost to East Tennessee State by 10. Tom Herrion may be on the hot seat.

UTEP had a solid showing against #2 Kansas today in the Bahamas. The Miners' rally came short in a 4 point loss against the Jayhawks.

Tulane lost to SE Missouri by 30 in Mexico today. At least their football team is decent this year.

Other C-USA results: UW-Green Bay beat Tulsa, Rice beat Santa Clara, FIU beat Georgia State, and North Texas beat SE Louisiana.

Tomorrow's marquee C-USA game is #16 UNC travelling to Birmingham to take on a improved UAB team. It's a chance for C-USA to get an elite OOC win (even though UNC has some key players out).

Other notes from CBB

Houston Baptist went to West Point and beat Army in OT. (all of our opponent's wins counts toward our RPI, right?)

Rhode Island lost 61-54 to George Mason on the road. USM travels to URI later this year.

North Dakota State currently leads Rider in the 2nd half. Hopefully, the Bison hang on for the W.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Eagles' offense struggles against #9 Louisville, loses 69-38

Louisville recap

We couldn't get anything done on offense as Pitino had the Cards playing really well on defense after a lackluster performance against North Carolina on Sunday. Louisville used several different defense schemes (matchup zone, man defense, and some full-court press) to keep the Eagles out of rhythm. It worked well for UofL as USM had 22 turnovers and shot only 28.9% from the field (and 18.2% on 3s).   The only positive I can think of from this game is we held to Louisville to 69 points which is the least amount of points that the Cards have scored this year. Other than that, this was a pretty poor performance from USM.

Notes from C-USA and CBB

C-USA went 0-6 tonight in hoops. UTEP lost to Iowa in the Bahamas tournament by 36, tonight. The Hawkeyes are legit this year but I expected more of a fight from the Miners.

Worst C-USA loss of the night goes to Rice who lost to Rider in 3OT (97-93). Tulane also lost to Texas State, Tulsa lost to TCU, and UTSA was hammered by a bad Texas Tech team.

Drexel beat Alabama 85-83 (3OT) in NYC today. The Dragons played (top 5) Arizona and (top 25) UCLA close and now they have a win over a decent Alabama team. Matt Norlander of CBS Sports wrote a good article on Drexel's elite guard play and how it compares to top 5 teams like Arizona (see below). The Eagles play Drexel at RGC in early January.

As mentioned above, here's the article from CBS Sports on Drexel's guard play (written by Matt Norlander):

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Louisville preview and notes from around CBB

Louisville preview

Louisville will likely be our toughest opponent of the season, and even though they lost to UNC on Sunday, they're still a really really good team. The Cardinals are 5-1 on the year, ranked #9 in the country, and are the defending national champions. U of L is lead by senior Russ Smith who has averaged 20.1 points per game through 6 games and was named AAC preseason player of the year. Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino, who is probably a top 2 or 3 coach in college basketball, today (IMO). 

I'm really interested to see our guys fare against Louisville's famous full court matchup press defense. I think Neil Watson is a good-enough ball handler to take the pressure well, but we'll find out tomorrow. Overall, I think this will be a really tough game for USM but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a close game for the first 30-35 minutes. However, Louisville's talent will probably be a little too much for USM, in the end. However, Donnie Tyndall beat Louisville in 2011 (in the NCAA Tournament) while at Morehead State. Can he repeat his magic from 2 years ago?

Prediction: Louisville 78, Southern Miss 64

Other notes from C-USA and CBB

UTEP got a big win over Tennessee in the Bahamas, today. Miners are 4-2. Tim Floyd appears to have a good team (again) in El Paso. They'll have another big game vs Iowa, tomorrow.

UAB plays UNC on Sunday in Birmingham. We'll see how far the Blazers have progressed since last year, in this game. 

Morehead State beat Chattanooga pretty easily, today. USM faces off against them, next week at RGC. They have been pretty impressive thus far, in 2013.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Eagles clobber William Carey 99-54

We finally got the blowout win that I've been waiting for this year, and even though it was against an NAIA opponent, I was pretty happy with our performance today. 12 different players scored today (6 players were in double-digits). Matt Bingaya and Chip Armelin saw significant minutes and played well. Bingaya had 16 points and 4 rebounds while Armelin also scored 16 points and added 3 rebounds. USM shot 64.1% from the field overall (first time since the UAB home game last year that we've shot better than 60% from the field). Next up for the Eagles is Louisville (on the road) who lost their first game of the season against UNC today.

Oh, and this happened. (via the Southern Miss Athletics YouTube page, it won't embed on this site for some reason)

Also the box score from today's game:

Other notes from C-USA and CBB today

Charlotte got a HUGE win over top 15 Michigan today in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic Championship game. The 49ers are now 5-1 with wins over Kansas State and Michigan. Their only loss came to College of Charleston on the road (by 1 point).

UAB was blown out by Temple in the Charleston Classic by a score of 89-68. A pretty disappointing loss as this Temple team isn't really all that great this year.

North Dakota State lost pretty badly to in-state rival North Dakota today. Remember that NDSU was the pre-season favorite in the Summit League.

Louisville lost to UNC which really shocked me because the Tar Heels haven't looked strong in the early part of 2013. That being said, beating Louisville on the road this week will be a extremely tough task. The Cards should still finish in the top 10 by year's end.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

USM struggles against Houston Baptist, but still wins 67-62

Southern Miss trailed at the half (again) to a struggling Houston Baptist team but was able to win 67-62 in the final game of the NABC Hall of Fame Classic in Mobile, Alabama. Houston Baptist started out hot and actually had a 10 point lead in the 1st half but USM chipped away at the lead in the 1st half and then later took the lead in the 2nd half and held on to it for the win. Daveon Boardingham led the way for the Eagles with 15 points and 7 rebounds (he missed some time in the game due to injury). Neil Watson also chipped in with 15 points. The Eagles shooted pretty poorly (38%) but overcame that stat to stay undefeated. Although, we didn't play well today against a bad opponent, this game doesn't scare me too much as we continue on our OOC (out of conference) stretch of games. Tomorrow, the Eagles face off against cross-town rival William Carey at RGC.

Other news and notes from around CBB

C-USA had a pretty mediocre showing today with the league going 4-6 as a whole. This includes Rice losing to Princeton (in Houston), Tulane losing to Northern Kentucky (in NOLA), and UTEP losing to New Mexico State. NMSU isn't a bad loss for the Miners (the Aggies are becoming a regular in the NCAA Tournament lately) but it could have been a nice top 75 RPI win. Tulsa put a decent fight against top 25 Creighton on the road but ended up losing by 10. The Golden Hurricane are 0-4 on the year but they have played a pretty tough schedule in the early part of the season (Wichita State, @ Creighton, Oral Roberts, @ Missouri State).

#3 Louisville won their 21st consecutive game over Fairfield today at home. They play UNC tomorrow in a neutral site game before playing USM on November 29.

Game Preview - Houston Baptist

Brief summary on our opponent

After last night's big come-from-behind win over South Alabama on the road, Southern Miss will take on Houston Baptist (1-3) for the finale of the NABC Hall of Fame Classic in Mobile, Alabama. The Huskies' lone win of the season came over non-D1 Crowley's Ridge College (75-61). Yesterday, they lost by 16 points to Wright State. HBU were part of the Great West Conference from 2009-2012 (the only D1 league where the conference champion does not receive an NCAA bid) but are now playing their first year in the Southland Conference. They were picked #12 (out of 12 teams) in the Southland coaches preseason poll.

My opinion on this game

This should be a pretty easy win for the Golden Eagles. USM should be able to cause lots of turnovers (if we go full-court press often) and will likely get a good amount of points in transition. Overall, Eagle fans should expect a blow-out win.

Prediction: Southern Miss 83, Houston Baptist 56

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eagles rally against South Alabama, win 66-59

Southern Miss got a (another) huge road win over a pretty solid South Alabama team tonight in Mobile. The Jags at one point had a double digit lead in the 2nd half but the Eagles finished the game on a 26-6 run to take the 66-59 road win. The Golden Eagles did a good job of containing the South Alabama's guards and played very well in the zone defense late in the game as the Jaguars only scored 11 points in the last 8 minutes of the game.

Overall, this was a great come-from-behind win (another double-digit comeback for USM this year) but I wish we could start out just a little bit better during the beginning of the game. That being said, I will take a 4-0 record with 3 of those wins being road wins. USM finishes up the NABC Classic with a game against Houston Baptist tomorrow in Mobile.

Other notes from around C-USA and College Basketball

C-USA got 2 wins in early-season tournaments today. Charlotte beat Northeastern in the semi-finals of the Puerto Rico tip-off classic. They will play Michigan in the finals, and while they will likely lose, it is impressive that they will be in the title game of one of the top early-season CBB tournaments. Also UAB rebounded from yesterday's loss to New Mexico with a win over Nebraska. The Blazers will host UNC in a few weeks which will be a pretty good measuring point for their team this year. 

Morehead State (another OOC opponent for USM this year) kept it close at UCLA for most of the game but the Bruins pulled away late for an 11 point win in Los Angeles. 

Game Preview - South Alabama

Brief Summary on our opponent

Southern Miss will travel down Highway 98 to play South Alabama (2-1) in Mobile, Alabama tonight. The Jaguars were picked #2 in the Sun Belt preseason poll (they received 2 first place votes) and have wins over Detroit (74-58) and William Carey (76-53). Their only loss came to Texas on the road (84-77), and the Jags had a 14 point lead at the half before the Longhorns rallied for the win. Augustine Rubit is the leader for the South Alabama squad and he was named pre-season player of the year in the Sun Belt conference. After the first three games, he has averaged a very impressive 14.3 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game. This includes a 22 point performance against Texas. 

My opinion on this game

Overall, this will be a good road test for the Basketball Eagles. I expect South Alabama to win around 20 games this year and end up in the NIT or CBI/CIT. The Jagaurs could also end up in the top 100 of the RPI rankings by the end of the year, in my opinion. The Mitchell Center should have a solid crowd (of both SoBama and USM fans) so we should a solid college basketball atmosphere for tonight's game. I think South Alabama gives USM a great fight but the Eagles pull out a close win.

Prediction: Southern Miss 72, South Alabama 67. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Instant Reaction: Southern Miss beats North Dakota State 70-69

Brief Summary

Southern Miss got a huge road win over a good North Dakota State Bison team in Fargo, ND on Monday night. Aaron Brown led the Eagles with 18 points. The Bison jumped out to a lead early but the Eagles stormed back and went on a 16-0 run to take a 11 point lead at the half. Late in the game, Neil Watson nailed a 3 pointer to give USM a 70-66 lead. NDSU had a chance to win at the end but Watson got a clutch steal as time expired to seal the win.

Other notes from the game and from around college basketball.

Transfer Jeremiah Eason had a huge impact in this game with 15 points and 5 rebounds. By far, his best game of the year.

Several of USM's opponents on this year's schedule won tonight: Drexel beat Elon, MTSU beat UA-Little Rock, FIU beat Stetson, and Georgia State beat McNeese State.

However, there was one awful loss by a CUSA opponent and one that is currently pending. UTSA lost to non-D1 McMurray and ECU is currently being blown out by Norfolk State.

USM's next game is against South Alabama on Friday in Mobile. The Jags beat William Carey 76-53 tonight.

Late edit: ECU came back to beat Norfolk State. So ignore my note on their game. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Game Preview - North Dakota State

Brief summary on our opponent

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles travel to Fargo, ND in a key OOC matchup that could have postseason implications. Southern Miss is 2-0 and is coming off a solid road win at DePaul. North Dakota State opened up with a win over non-D1 Viterbo University but followed it up with a loss to St. Mary's on the road. The Bison were also the preseason favorite to win the Summit League and they return all 5 starters from a team that won 24 games in the 2012-2013 season. NDSU is lead by Taylor Braun who averaged 15.4 points last year and was named Summit League Preseason Player of the Year. 

My opinion and prediction on tomorrow's game

In my opinion, this will be a good road test for USM. NDSU was a top 100 RPI team last year and they return all of the key players from last year's squad. The Bison like to slow the game down (they were #333 in KenPom's Tempo Rating last year) and it will be interesting to see how the Eagles adjust to the style of play that North Dakota State likes to run. I think this will be a close game but USM pulls away in the last minute for a solid road win.

Prediction: Southern Miss 69, North Dakota State 63