CIT Preview: SMU vs Oral Roberts

The Tournament, which features 24 teams competing in 12 first round games, is the first postseason tournament that SMU has qualified for since 2000 when the Mustangs earned a bid in the NIT.

Their opponent will be Oral Roberts. Here's a quick rundown on the Golden Eagles:

1.) Finished the season 19-15 (13-5)

2.) Ranked 39th in points per game (75.2)

3.) Ranked 15th in field-goal percentage (.477)

4.) Ranked 206th in rebounds per game (34.4)

The Golden Eagles are led by junior Dominique Morrison and sophomore Damen Bell-Holter. However, the team features four players who average double-digit scoring figures and two players who average 6 or more rebounds.

Morrison leads the team in scoring with 19.4 points per game. The Kansas City native also contributes 4.9 boards per game and 2.2 assists per game. He finished second on the team with 39 made three-point shots and second in attempts with 97 (.402%).

Bell-Holter is third on the team with 13.4 points per game, but leads the team in rebounds with 7.9 per game. He is shooting .513% from the field and .725% from the foul-line. The 6'10", 245 pound sophomore finished with a season-high 22 points against March Madness bound Oakland and compiled a season-high 10 rebounds against tournament bound Missouri.

Aside from Morrison and Bell-Holter, the Golden Eagles are led by Warren Niles and Steven Roundtree.

Niles, a 6'4" guard from Cincinnati, is second on the team with 14.4 points per game, but shoots poorly from the field (.397). However, he is Oral Roberts' biggest threat from behind-the-arc with 73 made attempts (.369).

Roundtree, on the other hand, proves as no threat from behind-the-arc, but he does shoot a team-high .562 from the field and averages 12.3 points per game. He ranks second on the team with 6.5 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game.

Oral Roberts' big four of Morrison, Bell-Holter, Niles and Roundtree will prove to be a tough challenge for SMU.

The Mustangs, as we know by now, are centered around First-Team C-USA center and C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, Papa Dia.

Robert Nyakundi, an All-C-USA Third Team Selection, is SMU's biggest scoring threat outside of Dia, but he has struggled of late, scoring a combined 13 points in the past three games against Central Florida, UTEP and Rice.

If SMU wants to win this game, they must receive a larger scoring total from Nyakundi than he has produced in his past three games.

Dia can only carry the team so far before he begins to wear down.

Oral Roberts is certainly a winnable game, but SMU must first find a way to contain their high-powered, high-scoring offense, and than worry about who is going to put the ball in the basket on their side.

- Josh Harvey -

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