How Bad Was The Southern Miss Loss?
A loss is never a good thing; however, this latest UTEP loss is not as bad as one might think.
The Miners seemed to be on their way to another impressive road win after holding a 38-31 halftime lead in Hattiesburg and then the second half happened. Some UTEP fans might put this on the refs and while there were some horrible calls against the visiting team (naturally), Southern Miss showed why they are unbeatable at home with an impressive second half performance as the Miners let a golden opportunity slip away.
With the unblemished road record no more, UTEP looks to move on and close up the season on a strong note while very much still in the hunt for a CUSA regular season championship. The loss to the Golden Eagles could prevent UTEP from a number one seed assuming Middle Tennessee State falters, but a share of the CUSA title would still be a huge accomplishment and if everything falls into place we could have a rematch that will almost certainly “Pack the DON” in the CUSA tournament final.
Before we start making plans for a Southern Miss-UTEP revenge matchup, the Miners need to shake off this latest loss and shift their focus to a Tulsa team that has quietly snuck up on the CUSA leaders as the Golden Hurricane come into El Paso on a five-game win streak good enough to put them in a 4-way tie for second place in the conference with a 10-3 conference mark along with Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech and UTEP.
A Tulsa loss would not only be devastating to UTEP’s chances of winning a share of the regular season title, but more importantly the Miners could be in danger of losing a top four seed and with the thin bench that double-bye is a must if they hope to play for an automatic NCAA tournament bid assuming they can make the tournament finals.
While UTEP has bounced back after every conference loss to win their next game, this will be the first time after losing on the road.
Will the Southern Miss loss linger or will the Miners take out their anger on the Golden Hurricane and right the ship?
Guess we will find out Thursday night.