NCAA Basketball Conference USA BasketballSouthern Miss Golden Eagles

Bubble Watch: Southern Miss Must Make Conference USA Championship Game

Jerome Miron-USA Today Sports

It’s going to be interesting to see what the NCAA Tournament committee does with Southern Miss.

The Golden Eagles, who finished the regular season at 23-8 overall and 12-4 within Conference USA, are positioned as the two seed within the league’s postseason tournament. The only problem? Southern Miss is on the bubble and needs the opportunity to improve their resume.

Well, at first glance, the Golden Eagles must automatically take care of business in both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the tournament, but it’s legit a two dog league, so even if Southern Miss makes a run to the C-USA title game, their resume may not be all that much improved.

If Southern Miss can reach that point within the conference tournament, well then it’s do or die anyway. Win and you dance by way of the automatic bid, lose you playing the same waiting game that you already in. Barring an unexpected upset, the Memphis Tigers should be the team that emerges from the side opposite of Southern Miss within the bracket. The Tigers have not lost a C-USA contest all season long and head coach Josh Pastner has him team steadied on keeping things that way.

So here’s the bottom line for Southern Miss: the Golden Eagles must make the Conference USA title game to have a chance at an at-large bid. If they can win the tournament, well then they are obviously all set, but if not, they better win convincingly in the quarter and semi final rounds because there’s a gray area prior to reaching that point and bettering their resume.

Southern Miss will await the winner of UAB and SMU and will play on Thursday, Mar. 14 in the quarterfinal round.


Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS