#77 Southern Miss Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #77
Conference Rank: #4 C-USA

Southern Miss Team Page#77 Southern Miss Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Southern Miss Basketball Tickets

After finishing second only to Memphis in the Conference USA pecking order with a 12-4 record, Southern Miss was, most likely, one of the first teams out of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. A run in the NIT, where they beat Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech at home before falling at BYU, was a nice consolation prize. Conference USA is going through some changes and the absence of Memphis is going to open up the title race. The Golden Eagles and Coach Donnie Tyndall will be right in the mix.

2012-13 Record: 27-10, 12-4
2012-13 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Donnie Tyndall
Coach Record: 27-10 at Southern Miss, 141-94 overall

Who’s Out:
Southern Miss does have a bit of rebuilding to do though. Wing Dwayne Davis is gone after leading the squad with 16.0 points and adding 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He was a great outside shooter and did just about everything else very efficiently as well. The departures on the perimeter continue with Rashard McGill, Cedric Jenkins and Deon Edwin. McGill was mostly a glue guy and averaged 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds during his senior season. Jonathan Mills was the team’s top interior scoring threat and best rebounder. The Golden Eagles did a great job on the glass led by Mills and that should continue, but the team will struggle to find interior scorers in 2013-2014.

Who’s In:
A handful of transfers will help replace the talent lost…and maybe then some. Aaron Brown, a 6-5 small forward, averaged less than 15 minutes per game with Temple back in 2011-2012, but he did tally 6.4 points per contest. He is a good scorer and a lanky defender who can get into passing lanes. Chip Armelin comes from Minnesota where he saw similar minutes as Brown during his two seasons. The 6-3 guard is a tough rebounder too. Ude Ifeanyichukwa will do more rebounding than Armelin though. The 6-10, 235 pound junior college transfer must be ready to contribute major minutes from day one. Matt Bingaya and Davon Hayes will add more depth on the wing. Hayes could be a nice offensive threat if he develops a jump shot to go with his driving ability.

Who to Watch:
Despite the need for the newcomers to add depth, Southern Miss does return four players who started at least ten games. Jerrold Brooks started a lot more games than that and he is ready to turn into the team’s new leading scorer. The 6-0 senior likes to shoot and he knocked down 36.1 percent of his outside shots. Neil Watson is another great outside shooting threat, but he does more than just shoot. The senior point guard dished out 4.9 assists per game and nearly had a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. Watson’s scoring took a step back in 2012-2013, however, that is a good sign. Watson was not forced to try and make things happen by himself. If Watson is scoring a lot, it means that others are not. Senior wing Michael Craig averaged 9.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals despite averaging fewer than 20 minutes per game. He can fill up the stat sheet in a hurry. The lone returning starter up front is Daveon Boardingham. The former junior college transfer is an efficient scorer in the paint and will be asked to do take more shots as a senior.

Final Projection:
Much of the returning talent on this team has only been with the program for one year. Coach Tyndall did an amazing job working in junior college transfers like Brooks, Craig and Boardingham. The transfers coming in this year will add an immediate boost to the program and the rest of the players finally have had some time together. The frontcourt is not going to dominate anybody, but there is potential there with Ifeanyichukwa coming in and sophomore Norville Carey gaining valuable experience in 2012-2013. Coach Tyndall was a great hire and is still building this program. This will be a team that competes for a Conference USA title, but without winning the conference’s automatic bid, the Golden Eagles may have to spend another year in the NIT.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Neil Watson, Senior, Guard, 9.8 points per game
Jerrold Brooks, Senior, Guard, 10.9 points per game
Michael Craig, Senior, Guard, 9.0 points per game
Daveon Boardingham, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Ude Ifeanyichukwa, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.9 (37th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.5 (93, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.9 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.9 (83, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (121, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.0 (27, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.4 (176, 7)
Rebound Margin: 5.5 (29, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (37, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (282, 10)


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