College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 12, 2010
Conference-USA has, for the better part of the last five seasons, been the exclusive stomping grounds of the Memphis Tigers, though that condition has changed dramatically since the departure of head coach John Calipari and the three years of probation leveled against the team in 2009, following the revelation of violations involving superstar Derrick Rose.
So, with the Tigers impaired, a reshuffling of power in the conference has been underway, and one of the teams apparently benefitting is Southern Miss, which improved to 7-1 Sunday, as the Golden Eagles knocked off the Cal Golden Bears, 80-78.
Senior forward Gary Flowers scored the final 12 points of the game for the Golden Eagles, including the winning field goal, a short turnaround jumper with 3 seconds left. Flowers, who has scored in double figures in every game he's played this season, led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting, hitting 2 of 3 from three-point range and all six of his free throw attempts.
While Memphis is still a respectable power in the conference, ranked #13 with a 7-1 record, the teams most likely to challenge them this season, besides the Golden Eagles, are UAB (7-2) and the University of Central Florida (UCF), which has begun the season on an 8-0 tear.