USF-Southern Miss Preview, Or Bulls Look To Finally Win On The Road

Your USF Bulls (7-5) try to end their non-conference schedule on a high note as they take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (9-2) tonight in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Game is scheduled for 8:00 PM and can only be heard on 1250 WHNZ, where Jim Lighthall and Andrikk Frazier will have the call. Here are your probable starting lineups for tonight.

Southern Miss

USF
6'0" Sr. Angelo Johnson G 6'1" Fr. Anthony Collins
6'2" Jr. LaShay Page
G 6'4" Jr. Shaun Noriega
6'2" Soph. Cedric Jenkins G 6'5" Sr. Hugh Robertson
6'6" Jr. Jonathan Mills
G/F 6'8" Jr. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick
6'10" Sr. Maurice Bolden
F 6'10" Sr. Augustus Gilchrist

Southern Miss is coming in on a 5 game winning steak after a Darnell Dodson 3-pointer at the buzzer game the Golden Eagles a 64-61 win over Arizona State on Monday. The game was marred in the second half after USM's Torye Pelham and ASU's Ruslan Pateev exchanged punches and were ejected. Pelham along with reserve Ahyaro Philips who left the bench during the altercation will be suspended for the game tonight. Pelham's suspension will be tough for the Golden Eagles, as he is one of their best defenders and started every game for USM, averaging 7.7 PTS/5.7 REB/1.5 STL a game. At this point I'd expect Jonathan Mills to get the start opposite Bolden, but after his big game against ASU, I wouldn't be surprised if Dodson moves into the starting lineup either.

Even with Pelham gone, Larry Eustachy has a deep roster that plays tough half-court defense and runs a solid motion offense with a ton of guards on their roster. Leading the way are guards Angelo Johnson (12.6 PTS/3.8 REB/3.7 AST), LaShay Page (14.7 PTS/2.3 REB), and post Maurice Bolden(11.9 PTS/6.5 REB/1.5 BLK).

Johnson and fellow point guard 5'11" Soph. Neil Watson (11.3 PTS/2.5 REB/3.6 AST) do an excellent job running the offense for the Golden Eagles. They are both quick to the basket and can finish down low. They do a good job creating contact in the post and head to the line a combined 9 times a game. Our posts will need to do a good job maintaining their position so they won't get into foul trouble. Both Johnson and Watson do shoot well from distance, hitting 43% and 38% from three respectively.

While Johnson and Watson occasionally takes a shot from deep, Page makes his living on the perimeter. LaShay takes almost 8 threes a game, and will hit 38% of those attempts. Jawanza Poland, Hugh Robertson, or Shaun Noriega will have to keep a close eye on him as Page has the green light to shoot whenever and wherever he wants.

Bolden isn't the most physical center, but is extremely quick and athletic for his size, and will be a challenge for our posts all night. His length will be a problem down low, and can shoot the ball from anywhere on the field consistently. Bolden is even a decent 3-point shooter, hitting 46% of his attempts this year. Bolden does get in the habit of accumulating fouls easily, which might play a big factor later on with Pelham suspended. Mills (7.8 PTS/5.4 REB) is in the same mold as Pelham as he is aggressive on the boards, especially on the offensive end. Mills does turn the ball over quite a bit, so that will be something to watch and see if the Bulls can take advantage. Cedric Jenkins (2.0 PTS/1.7 REB) is in the starting lineup for his defensive prowess and that's it. Jenkins isn't known for his offensive game.

The Golden Eagles have a solid bench led by Watson and the 6'7" Dodson, who was just reinstated to the team last week after completing a list of measures due to a grand larceny arrest in the spring. Dodson is long and can shoot the ball from anywhere. Victor Rudd and Hugh Robertson will have their hands full on the defensive end against him. 6'5" Rashard McGill (3.8 PTS/4.2 REB) rounds out the rotation, and like Jenkins is there mostly for defensive purposes.

One thing to watch for tonight is the foul situation. Southern Miss gets to the line a lot, and they send their opponents to the line just as much. With the USM post's penchant for picking up quick fouls, we might see a lot of 5 guard sets from the Golden Eagles with a 6'6 Mills or Dodson guarding our posts.

Even with that, I'm still not 100% sold yet. If the Bulls win tonight, we can start talking about possibly making a run in the Big East play, but I doubt it happens. Let's hope they prove me wrong again.

Bulls lose by 5.

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