The Southern Miss men's basketball team opens the home Conference USA slate with a pair of games at Reed Green Coliseum this week.
USM hosts Charlotte at 7 p.m. Thursday in a game that gives the Golden Eagles a chance at their first conference victory. The Eagles will host one of the conference's better teams, Old Dominion, at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Southern Miss is 3-9 and 0-1 in league play following an 87-57 loss at Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Charlotte has also struggled to start the 2015-16 season with a 3-10 and 0-1 mark.
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The 49ers are in their first season under head coach Mark Price, a former star guard in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He spent the previous two seasons working as an assistant for the Charlotte Hornets.
So far, the college game hasn't been kind to Price.
Three players from last year's Charlotte team transferred not long after he was hired. One of those players was leading scorer Torin Dorn, who averaged 12.0 points a game and was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year last season. He is now at North Carolina State.
Charlotte is 2-2 over its last four games, including competitive losses to Georgetown and Old Dominion.
Southern Miss has managed to win three of its last four games, but the odds seemed stacked as high against the Eagles as they've been all season. Sophomore forward Eddie Davis was recently lost for the rest of the season with a broken foot.
A shallow USM team with little experience will have to find a way to hang with the rest of Conference USA and it's not clear how they'll do it.
Junior point guard Khari Price and senior guard Kourtlin Jackson are the Eagles' top remaining players.
Price has been limited in practice this year due to a lingering knee injury, but the Dayton transfer has still managed to average 9.5 points and 3.4 assists a game.
"Usually, he doesn't practice much if at all on the day after a game," USM head coach Doc Sadler said last week. "Unfortunately, with (Norville Carey and Kevin Holland receiving redshirts) everything has been put on his shoulders. At the same time, I think in the last two or three games, you see him playing more and more the way he wants to play."
Jackson currently leads USM in scoring with an average of 10.6 points a game.
An undersized USM frontcourt will be challenged by 6-foot-10, 261-pound Joseph Uchebo of Charlotte. The senior is averaging 9.5 points and 8.8 rebounds this season.
Six-foot-3 freshman guard Andrien White is Charlotte's leading scorer, contributing 11.3 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.
Old Dominion starts the week 8-6 and 1-0 and has won its last four games. The Monarchs are led by the talented senior backcourt duo of Trey Freeman (16.7 ppg) and Aaron Bacote (15.4 ppg).