HATTIESBURG – Southern Miss will have to quickly shake off the disappointment of not making the NCAA tournament field.
The Golden Eagles open National Invitation Tournament play tonight with a 7:30 p.m. game at home against Toledo. Both teams are 27-6.
“We’re playing a very good Toledo team,” Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall said. “They’re upperclassmen-dominated like we are. I’m glad the game’s on our home floor.”
The Golden Eagles are 14-0 this season at Reed Green Coliseum.
It’s the first meeting between the teams. The game is not on TV.
Southern Miss had won six in a row before a 64-56 loss to Louisiana Tech in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament. Forward Michael Craig (11.3) and guard Neil Watson (10.4) lead the Golden Eagles in scoring.
Toledo opened the season with a 12-game winning streak. The Rockets lost 98-77 to Western Michigan in the Mid-American Conference championship game. Junior guard Julius Brown (14.8), senior guard Rian Pearson (14.7) and junior guard Justin Drummond (14.2) lead Toledo in scoring.
Southern Miss won the NIT in 1987 and reached the quarterfinals last season.
Tonight’s winner advances to play Missouri, which beat Davidson 85-77 on Tuesday.