HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Only one men's basketball team from the University of Southern Mississippi knows what it's like to walk in the same area code as Times Square. That would be the 1987 Golden Eagles who made it to Madison Square Garden and won the National Invitational Tournament.
The 2012-2013 Golden Eagles want to be mentioned in the same breath.
"It's like the Kingdom come of basketball arenas, to play at Madison Square Garden," said guard Neil Watson on Wednesday night. Southern Miss defeated Charleston Southern University 78-71 in the first round of the NIT. They need just two more wins on their home floor to make plans for the 'Big Apple.'
"For a lot of us, that's the motivation. We got to go to Madison Square. We got to go to New York- the 'City that Never Sleeps,'" said Watson, "We got to get there and we got to play."
The Eagles weren't able to make it back to the NCAA Tournament, but Watson is making sure his team knows there's still a prize to be had, and it's four wins away. "We didn't make it to the tournament, alright, it's over," he says, "We're in the NIT, that's what we're looking at.
"At the end of the year, there's only two winners: the team that wins the NCAA tournament, and that wins the NIT tournament."