Southern Mississippi comes in having lost six of their last eight games, including their last two conference matchups. The Golden Eagles stumbled on the road against UAB to open up last week before falling to Middle Tennessee 69-49 on Saturday night.Tyree Griffin scored a game-high 21 points, while LaDavius Drane added 14 points in a rough offensive performance on the road for the Golden Eagles.
Line: Southern Miss -8
Golden Eagles struggling on defense
Southern Mississippi has been one of the worst defensive teams in the country this season. Opposing teams are scoring 109.1 points per 100 possessions (275th in the NCAA), while sporting an effective field goal percentage of 57.7 percent against the Golden Eagles’ defense. Teams are shooting 58.5 percent from inside the arc (345th in the NCAA) and 37.9 percent from three-point range (302nd in the NCAA) against the Golden Eagles through their first 19 games of the season.
Doc Sadler’s squad does a great job of taking care of the basketball on offense and forcing turnovers on the other end of the floor. Southern Mississippi has turned the ball over on just 14.2 percent of their offensive possessions (4th in the NCAA). Meanwhile, they’ve forced their opponents to cough up the ball on 20.7 percent of their defensive possessions (73rd in the NCAA).
Rice stumbling in Pera’s first year as head coach
Rice has been one of the worst teams in the conference this season in Scott Pera’s first year as head coach. The Owls have stumbled out to a 4-14 record and enter Thursday’s game having lost seven of their last eight contests. So, it comes as no surprise that Rice ranks outside the top-250 in several categories on both ends of the floor.
The Owls have scored just 97.0 points per 100 possessions (295th in the NCAA) so far this season, while turning the ball over on 22.5 percent of their offensive possessions (329th in the NCAA). Rice is shooting 32.0 percent from three-point range (294th in the NCAA), 47.5 percent from inside the arc (253rd in the NCAA) and 65.3 percent from the charity stripe as a team (326th in the NCAA).
On defense, the team ranks 288th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, but the Owls have been even worse than that during conference play. Rice has been 3.9 points worse per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor, allowing C-USA opponents to score 113.7 points per 100 possessions through their first five conference games.
- Golden Eagles are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Golden Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
- Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Owls are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 Thursday games.
It’s hard to roll with Rice in this spot. The Owls have been one of the worst teams in the country, despite playing several winnable games this season. Two of Rice’s four wins have come against non-DI opponents and the Owls have not defeated anyone ranked higher than #271 on Ken Pomeroy’s College Basketball Rankings yet this year. Look for the Golden Eagles to care of business at home in this C-USA showdown on Thursday night.