Game Info: Wed, Mar. 27th, 8:00 PM ET, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
The BYU Cougars hope to continue their offensive success on Wednesday against Southern Miss, when they play the Golden Eagles in an NIT quarterfinal game. The Cougars have scored 180 points combined in their first and second round games, and have shown zero signs of stopping this. Southern Miss defeated Charleston Southern and LA Tech in their first and second round matchups; BYU beat Washington and Mercer in their first and second round games.
Here’s how these two teams compare statistically:
AP Poll: Unranked
Points Per Game: 76.5 (18th in the nation)
Rebounds Per Game: 38.3 (29th in the nation)
Assists Per Game: 15.6 (21st in the nation)
Field Goal %: 45.8% (56th in the nation)
Leading Scorer: Tyler Haws (20.9ppg)
Leading Rebounder: Brandon Davies (7.8rpg)
Leading Passer: Matt Carlino (4.3apg)
AP Poll: Unranked
Points Per Game: 74.4 (30th in the nation)
Rebounds Per Game: 35.6 (126th in the nation)
Assists Per Game: 15.0 (33rd in the nation)
Field Goal %: 48.3% (11th in the nation)
Leading Scorer: Dwayne Davis (16.3ppg)
Leading Rebounder: Jonathan Mills (7.8rpg)
Leading Passer: Neil Watson (4.9apg)
Here are some additional things to expect from Southern Mississippi on Wednesday
Although the Eagles score a decent amount of points (74.4 PPG), they are not necessarily an up-tempo team. The Golden Eagles only average 64.8 possessions per game, which is 219th nationally. BYU averages 71.6 possessions per game, which is 7th in the entire nation. Rather than running up and down the floor, Southern Miss. runs their offense at a slower pace and waits for higher percentage looks. There shooting percentage (48.3%) is a testament to that.
Another interesting aspect about Southern Mississippi is that every single one of their starters is a junior college transfers. They don’t play a lot of their young guys as a result. They are not necessarily a highly experienced team, but they are full of mature players that eat up most of their minutes.
Even though Southern Mississippi was dangerously close to earning an NCAA tournament berth, the Golden Eagles don’t have many quality wins on their resume. There best win was an overtime victory over Georgia on the road. They lost three times to their inter conference foe, Memphis, and couldn’t take down the Tigers a single time. It has to be taken into question if this team can defeat an opponent with the talent level of BYU.
Prediction: BYU 85, Southern Mississippi 75
After a close first half, I expect the Cougars to pull away and sustain a double digit lead in the second. However, the game could go either way. These are two teams with close to equal skill levels with two differing playing styles. A berth to the NIT semifinals will not be easy for either team.