Three weeks ago, the Southern Miss men played some of their best basketball in back-to-back wins over UTEP and Texas-San Antonio in Hattiesburg.
Starting at UTEP at 8:05 p.m. Thursday, the Golden Eagles take a two-game road swing against those same opponents. The Golden Eagles will go to UTSA at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
UTEP, which has won four straight, appears to be a different squad than the one that USM beat 71-58 in Hattiesburg on Jan. 28.
When the Miners played in Hattiesburg, they were in middle of their worst stretch of the season. The loss was one of six over a seven-game run.
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UTEP now sits at 15-11 with a 7-6 mark in Conference USA play while USM has lost four straight to stand at 7-16 and 4-8.
Southern Miss has only six games remaining on the schedule, four of them coming on the road.
With the Eagles in the second season of a self-imposed postseason ban, the Golden Eagles will again only have pride to play for the rest of the way.
USM head coach Doc Sadler will face a UTEP program that he led to a record of 48-18 over two seasons in 2004-06. The Miners made the NCAA Tournament his first season and reached the NIT the next year under Sadler before he moved on to serve six seasons as the head coach at Nebraska.
Sadler's USM squad took it on the chin at UTEP last season, 74-40, before beating the Miners later in the season in Hattiesburg.
Junior guard Lee Moore leads UTEP in scoring this season and has averages of 14.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Senior guard Kourtlin Jackson continues to pace the Eagles on offense, averaging 12.1 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Southern Miss should have a good shot take down a struggling UTSA team on Saturday. The Roadrunners have lost eight straight and are in last place in C-USA at 4-22 overall and 2-11 in league play.
UTSA has struggled badly on the defensive end in conference play, giving up 83.0 points a game. Only Marshall is worse at 84.4 points a contest.
USM rates as one of the better defensive teams in conference play, ranking fourth with 71.2 points allowed against C-USA competition.
Six-foot-1 guard Ryan Bowie has been UTSA's most productive player this season, averaging 17.8 points and 7.0 rebounds.