HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WJTV) — Oh, how a year makes a difference.
Just one year removed from the programs first 20 win season since the disastrous and sanction filled Donnie Tyndall era, Southern Miss finds themselves back at the bottom of the conference at 4-14 with yet another mountain to climb.
“It sucks,” said sophomore guard Gabe Watson. “I mean there’s not really much else to it. It hurts.”
After falling to North Texas on Thursday, head coach Jay Ladner started off his press conference taking full responsibility for the way his team has played this year.
“Anything that hasn’t gone right, I want to be the first to say, that’s my responsibility,” said head coach Jay Ladner. “So, you know, I think that the guys are trying hard, certainly casting no blame. I have to do a better job coaching and figuring out ways to give us the best opportunity to win.”
Now, lets not leave reality here. If you’re a Southern Miss fan, just know that this was the expectation. Ladner even acknowledged before the season that this year was going to be tough.
How could it not be with all of the experience they lost?
“The reality of the, of what we’re seeing is a lack of experience obviously, new coaching staff to them, and they’re new to us, and they’re new to each other,” Ladner said. “We’ve got a lot of guys out there that are playing their first division one basketball and it shows at times.”
According to Ladner, there’s been issues on both sides of the ball so far this season.
After Thursday’s game, Watson talked about how they needed to improve their focus defensively if they want to win more games.
“When you talk about a recipe, the area that we can improve on now, that must be improved on now, that has to be improved on now if we’re going to start flipping these games to wins, is defensively.”
Southern Miss ranks last in scoring margin and is bottom three in offensive and defensive scoring, so it’ll take more than just a defensive turn around to right this ship.