Southern takes to the road again when it plays Memphis at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Tigers (6-2) are members of the American Athletic Conference and have played in four of the past five NCAA tournaments.
Facing successful programs and programs that belong to midmajor conferences has become common-place for the Jaguars (7-2).
“We don’t care what name is on the other team’s jersey,” Southern forward Shawn Prudhomme said. “We’re no pushover.”
Southern has demonstrated that already this season. After losing the season opener at Arkansas, it knocked off Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi, to split a road trip against two Southeastern Conference programs.
“That was a big win,” guard Trelun Banks said. “It let us know what this team is capable of doing. We know that we go into every game with a chance of winning as long as we play hard for 40 minutes.”
After the victory at State, the Jaguars came home and didn’t let up, beating Tulane, another member of the AAC and a program that had won all eight previous meetings between the two schools. The Jaguars then ended a seven-game losing streak against Southeastern Louisiana by beating the Lions of the Southland Conference in Hammond.
Southern absorbed its second loss of the season last week when it visited Grand Canyon University of the Western Athletic Conference, then bounced back two days later with a victory at Wyoming, a member of the Mountain West Conference.
“We’re going to play the same way whether it’s Mississippi State or Arkansas or some other big-time program,” guard LaQuentin Collins said.
The Jaguars’ other three games have come against non-NCAA programs, and they have maintained a similar level of consistency when they have been the larger program in the matchup. Southern has beaten Dillard, Paul Quinn College and Ecclesia College by an average score of 90-66.
Memphis is coming off an 89-57 victory against Manhattan on Saturday in the FedEx Forum.
Jaguars coach Roman Banks said several players arrived at Southern believing they could compete with teams from bigger conferences because they had played with and against players from those programs in AAU competition.
The victories this season helped reinforce that confidence, though the wins are a double-edged sword.
“The other side of that is you’re not going to sneak up on anybody,” Banks said. “We’re not going to catch (Memphis) sleepwalking. They’re a well-coached ball team.
“But this team believes it can play with anyone. You don’t have to sell that over and over again.”
After the game at Memphis, the Jaguars will play Conference USA member Louisiana Tech on Friday in Ruston.
They’ll conclude their nonconference schedule with two games in the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada, next week. The first game will be against North Carolina Central on Dec. 21. And the next day, Southern will face either Eastern Illinois or Nebraska-Omaha.
Then comes the start of Southwestern Athletic Conference play Jan. 2 at Texas Southern.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.