Keeping Score

Tyndall: USM 'rightfully' selected as NIT No. 1 seed

After falling just short of the NCAA Tournament, the Southern Miss basketball team received a nice consolation prize Sunday night.

The Golden Eagles received a No. 1 seed in the NIT and will host Charleston Southern at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday at Reed Green Coliseum.

The other No. 1 seeds are Kentucky, Alabama and Virginia.

First-year USM coach Donnie Tyndall said that his players were disappointed, but not shocked about being left out of the NCAA Tournament.

"Obviously, we believe our team deserved to be in NCAA Tournament," Tyndall said. "But it didn't go our way. With that being said, the NIT is a very prestigious tournament and we're very proud to be a part of it. We were rightfully selected as a No. 1 seed."

Tyndall pointed to Middle Tennessee State's early exit in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as one of the reasons that USM was left out of the NCAA Tournament field. MTSU's loss took one more at-large bid off the table.

USM finished the season with a record of 25-9 and had the highest RPI ranking (32nd) of all the teams left out of the NCAA.

Charleston Southern went 19-12 with a 12-4 record in the Big South this season.

Tyndall said that he never faced Charleston Southern while he was at Morehead State, but that he is familiar with several of their players. Both Tyndall and Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh recruit Georgia heavily.