The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are a team that is never going to try to run its opponents off the floor. They played a deliberate style, taking care of the basketball to a degree that rivals almost anybody in the nation. They also shoot the three-pointer with a pretty nice degree of efficiency.
The Charlotte 49ers are one Conference USA squad that may try to slow the pace even more if you can believe it. And even though they possess a poor record, there are coming off a win, which should instill some confidence. And they are bigger.....much bigger.
These teams will meet at the Halton Arena in Charlotte on Thursday night.
TV: CUSA.tv, 7 PM ET. LINE: Check Intertops for the latest line
ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS: Doc Sadler's team has won its last two games, although beating Middle Tennessee by seven points (77-70) and UAB by five (73-68) isn't necessarily going to bowl a lot of people over. Against the Blazers, Cortez Edwards had 18 points, with LaDavius Draine tallying 19, basically from draining (pardon the pun) five triples. As we mentioned in the introduction, Southern Miss (10-7 SU, 7-6 ATS) is rather deliberate, taking up an average of 18.4 seconds on each possession. And they are indeed very careful with the basketball, committing a turnover on only 14.2% of those possessions (sixth best in the country). You would think that a team able to show that kind of fundamental strength would not fail when it came to some of the other basics, but USM certainly does. They did not hit the offensive boards at all; in fact, only eight teams in the nation bring down offensive rebounds at a lower rate than they do. And they are horrid from the free-throw line, hitting just 62.5%. Defensively, they are solid though not spectacular, and they appear to have a tendency to force opponents into attempts from pre-point range (that's 39.2% of opposing points). You'll see only one player over 6-5 in the rotation, for the most part.
ABOUT CHARLOTTE: They managed to pull a minor upset on Saturday, defeating Florida Atlantic 65-60. Guard Jon Davis, who has one of the highest Usage figures in the country, took only eleven of the team's 50 shots but scored 24 points. Jaylan McGill, a 6-2 guard, has four triples, although this may be something of an aberration, as he had made only six field goals from beyond the arc for the whole season previous to that. Davis (21.7 ppg) is unquestionably the guy Southern Miss has to stop, as he is the only player averaging in double figures, but Charlotte (4-11 SU, 9-6 ATS) has the ability to throw a lot of tall people out there against a very short Golden Eagles squad. And if USM bricks from the outside, Charlotte is not likely to give them second chances (50th in Defensive Rebounding Percentage). So lots going to depend on whether the 49ers can defend the perimeter, and they have given up 34.1% from three-point range, which is exactly the Division I average. This Charlotte team, like Southern Miss, is challenged when it comes to offensive rebounds, as they are 339th in that category. They have been substandard shooting the ball, whether it comes from two-point or three-point territory. But they don't miss many chances from the line, ranking 25th in free-throw accuracy. They won't be fazed by any "slow down" tactics on the part of the Golden Eagles, because they are even slower.
1. Southern Miss guard Ladavius Draine has the best Turnover Rate in the country, according to the analytics furnished by the folks at KenPom.com.
2. There is a world of difference in the experience levels of these two teams. Southern Miss' players average 2.27 years of it (24th in the country), while Charlotte's roster averages 1.11 years of experience (326th).
3. While we mentioned that Southern Miss his sixth test in the country in avoiding turnovers, Charlotte happens to be the 17th WORST, committing a turnover on 23.3% of its possessions.
PREDICTION: Southern Miss 64, Charlotte 63 Bet Now
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