Southern Mississippi and Ole Miss have played basketball 21 times, an inconsistent series that resumed two years ago, and the teams have split games at northern and southern neutral sites.

The schools compete annually in baseball but haven't played football against one another since 1984. Ole Miss has an 18-6 edge in the football series.

Southern Miss and Mississippi State recently announced the resumption of their football series.

Southern Miss basketball coach Larry Eustachy says his sport generates just as much passion as football when the Golden Eagles and Rebels play.

"It's for the benefit of the state. It's what the fans want. I think they want Southern Miss to come in there rather than just whoever," Eustachy said. "Andy (Kennedy) has a lot to lose, and that happened last year, but you've got to put your insecurities aside and play, which he has done."

The financial considerations should not be ignored, says Eustachy, whose team recently traveled to Montana for a single game against Montana State.

"And that's crazy," he said. "We are in tough times. This is about much more than just the outcome. What's one game? My retirement fund is taking a hit.

"This is the most interest in the state that you can get, and it's our cheapest game. It's just a tank of gas."

Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

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