Larry Eustachy is coming back to Iowa as a changed man. The Southern Mississippi coach returns to the Hawkeye State as a visitor this weekend for the first time since his humiliating dismissal from Iowa State.

“I’ve got nothing but great memories of Iowa, and I’m looking forward to it,” Eustachy said Thursday. “The biggest thing — and the only thing — is getting this team to make some progress on a court other than our own.”

The Golden Eagles’ game today against UNCG in the Gazette Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City is Eustachy’s first in the state since the former Associated Press coach of the year was embarrassingly forced out as the Cyclones’ coach in April 2003.

Eustachy lost his job at Iowa State when embarrassing photos were published showing him drinking beer and frolicking with coeds. Southern Miss gave him a second chance at coaching in March.

HEATH HOPES FOR UPSET: Facing No. 3 Illinois could prove to be a litmus test for unranked Arkansas on Saturday, showing Razorback coach Stan Heath where his team stands so far this season.

Heath said he’s preparing his players to deal with Illinois’ passing skills. Illinois had just six turnovers in its 91-73 win over Wake Forest.

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