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NCAA Bracket 2012: How Southern Miss. Basketball Got To March Madness

Southern Miss got off to a hot start, but faded late in their Conference USA schedule

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A year after losing a significant portion of their scoring and rebounding, it was tough to know what to make of Southern Miss. heading into the 2011-12 season. After losing stalwarts like Gary Flowers and R.L. Horton, the Golden Eagles brought back just 30.7 percent of their scoring and 34.7 percent of their rebounding.

Safe to say, then, that the season has gone well. Despite some early stumbles to the likes of Denver and Murray State, the Eagles got off to a 13-2 non-conference start and at one point reeled off 10 straight wins. They continued their strong play in Conference USA action, as they started 7-1 with their only loss being to Memphis.

The final win during that 7-1 stretch was a rematch against Memphis. In that one, Darnell Dodson led the Eagles with 23 points and six rebounds. That win gave them the conference lead and seemed to have them pretty well set up, as most of their toughest games were behind them.

It didn't quite work out as planned, though. The Eagles lost their next game to UAB and dropped three more C-USA games -- all on the road -- to finish the regular season with an 11-5 conference record, two games behind Memphis. They come into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 10 seed in the East, playing their first game against No. 8 Kansas State.

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