Keeping Score

USM basketball looks for big road win at DePaul

Southern Miss is in search of a big non-conference basketball victory when it travels to DePaul for an 8 p.m. game on Wednesday.

The game will be televised by Fox Sports 2, which may be hard to find in your cable lineup.

Both teams started their seasons with wins over SWAC opponents. USM took down Jackson State, 67-51, while the Blue Demons gave Grambling State its 53rd loss in its last 57 games, 96-58.

DePaul is coming off a disappointing 11-21, 2-16 season last year in the Big East.

The Blue Demons will have a big size advantage Wednesday with three 6-foot-10 players on the roster, but USM has had much more success of late on the basketball court.

DePaul is looking to avoid its seventh straight losing season under fourth-year coach Oliver Purnell.

USM is seeking its seventh winning campaign in the last eight years under second-year coach Donnie Tyndall.

DePaul does have its top two scorers returning from last year's squad. Forward Cleveland Melvin averaged 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds last year while guard Brandon Young put up 16.7 points and 4.6 assists.

Southern Miss is still learning to live without two key players from last year's squad in Dwayne Davis and Jonathan Mills, but there's definitely reason for hope with forward Daveon Boardingham, guard Jerrold Brooks and guard Neil Watson leading the way.

This looks like a prime opportunity for USM to grab a win away from Hattiesburg. DePaul doesn't have a huge home court advantage these days, and Tyndall knows this game is big for his team's postseason hopes.

Louisville, Western Kentucky and Drexel are likely the team's toughest non-conference opponents in a schedule that's not well-suited to establish a strong RPI.

MY PREDICTION: Southern Miss 78, DePaul 70