Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (15-17) at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (24-6)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm (Ford Center at The Star)
The Line: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders -14 -- Over/Under: 136.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will square off at the Ford Center at the Star this Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Men’s championship.
The 8-seed Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles improved to 15-17 (7-11 C-USA) on the season after defeating the 9-seed FIU Golden Panthers, 69-68, last night in the 1st round of the C-USA Men’s Championship. Southern Mississippi allowed FIU to fight back from a 43-28 deficit to make it game late, however, pulled away after an 8-3 Golden Eagles run gave Southern Mississippi a 66-60 lead with just :15 seconds left in regulation. Southern Mississippi held FIU to just 39.3% shooting from the field and 26.3% (5-19) shooting from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was Cortez Edwards who had 29 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block. On the season, Southern Mississippi is averaging 70.5 ppg on 44.6% shooting from the field. The Golden Eagles are averaging 7.3 three-pointers per game on 33.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Southern Mississippi has been led by Cortez Edwards (15.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.8 apg, 2.1 spg), Tyree Griffin (15.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.9 spg), Dominic Magee (11.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 apg), and Kevin Holland (7.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.5 apg). Defensively, Southern Mississippi is allowing their opponents to average 71.9 ppg on 46.1% shooting from the field. The Golden Eagles have a rebound margin of -5.5 and a turnover margin of 4.4.
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders finished the season with a 24-6 overall record and earned the top-seed in the C-USA Men’s Championship after finishing conference play with an impressive 16-2 record. Middle Tennessee was the conference favorite coming into this season and although they had trouble with Marshall, losing both games to the Thundering Herd including their season finale, the Blue Raiders were outstanding this season had some solid wins against Murray State, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. Middle Tennessee was led by their defense this season which ranked 28th in scoring defense, 100th in defensive FG%, and 32nd in rebound margin. On the season, Middle Tennessee is averaging 75.1 ppg on 46.4% shooting from the field. The Blue Raiders are averaging 7.2 three-pointers per game on 36.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Middle Tennessee has been led by Nick King (21.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.9 apg), Giddy Potts (13.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.5 spg), Brandon Walters (10.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg), and Tyrik Dixon (4.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg). Defensively, Middle Tennessee is holding their opponents to an average of 65.6 ppg on 42.7% shooting from the field. The Blue Raiders have a rebound margin of 5.5 and a turnover margin of 1.3.
The Golden Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games and 16-6-1 ATS in their last 23 Thursday games. The Blue Raiders are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Middle Tennessee won both matchups against Southern Miss this season as the Blue Raiders won by a 69-49 margin on the road in mid-January and won by a 72-62 margin at home in mid-February.
Southern Mississippi picked up a nice against FIU to keep their season alive, however, the Golden Eagles are just no matchup on either end of the court for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee is one of the better defensive teams in the country as they might need to win the C-USA to get their NCAA bid, I believe that the Blue Raiders will come out strong in this one and easily win by 15-20 points. Take Middle Tennessee to cover.
Please Note: The Team/Players stats for South Mississippi are not updated with the results from their game against FIU on 3/7.