SMU (16-5, 3-2 AAC) hosts the No. 22 Memphis Tigers (16-4, 6-2 AAC) in front of a sellout crowd of 7,000. Memphis will be the third team ranked within the top-25 the Mustangs play this season.
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. CT
WHERE: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)
RADIO/TV: CBS Sports Network, SMU - KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: 11-3, Memphis leads
ANALYSTS: Billy Embody and Adam Grosbard
PONY TRENDS: According to Larry Brown, the Mustangs are still sick over their loss to South Florida. SMU did not look good in the first half of their game against Houston either but they found a way to win – this time they weren't so lucky.
The Mustangs allowed the Bulls to shoot over 50 percent from the field, and they were outrebounded and outscored in the paint. USF had three players score 18 points or more including senior Victor Rudd, who SMU held to five points in the first matchup.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the loss for Mustangs fans were the senseless turnovers-- 16 of them to be exact. SMU had multiple careless errors that did them no favors.
SMU was placed in a trap game against an underperforming ball club on the road, and they got caught looking ahead to Memphis. It would be a surprise to see Brown's team give that type of performance again. SMU has not suffered back-to-back losses all season and are still undefeated at home.
OPPONENT STRENGTHS: Memphis is a very high-paced and physical team who will not hesitate to make a highlight reel on any team in the country.
They have exceptional guard play from their three seniors Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon Jr., and Geron Johnson. Between the three of them, the Memphis guards can play a high tempo game allowing them to score quickly, they can get to the rack, and they can shoot as well. After a 17-point effort against UCF, Jackson is now on the top-10 scoring list in Memphis history.
Memphis is also very physically imposing down low as well. They have athletes all over the floor and their players have big time energy. The name of the Memphis big man being blared out of television sets all across the country this year is Shaq Goodwin.
Goodwin is a force to be reckoned with no doubt about it. The kid thrives off of out working and out hustling people in the paint and loves to throw down big time jams. He also has shot-blocking ability that will have the entire Memphis bench up on their feet.
Matchup to Watch: Markus Kennedy vs. Shaq Goodwin. Goodwin and Kennedy will battle it out in what should be an epic matchup down low. The two power forwards are virtually the same size, both listed as 6-foot-9 (Kennedy – 245, Goodwin – 242), and can beat you in similar ways. Kennedy is nowhere near the type of dunker that Goodwin is but offensively, his game is much more polished and skilled. They both can block shots and they both possess the ability to swing the momentum of the game into their team's favor just on their ability to hustle, whether it's fighting for loose balls, diving to the floor or getting an and-one opportunity. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Keys to the Game: SMU – Don't play their game. When Memphis gets their opponents on the ropes they are hard to stop. They have athletes all over the floor and can go on quick runs easily. SMU has not shown that they can take care of the ball consistently so they need to find the rhythm and pace that is right for them and dictate the style of game they want to play. Memphis is also a team that turns the ball over as well so SMU has to take advantage of that through playing exceptional transitional and half court defense throughout the entirety of the game. Kennedy did a great job against TaShawn Thomas but Chris Perry and Victor Rudd killed the Mustangs down low last game. That can't happen again if SMU wants to come out on top.
Memphis – The Tigers need to dominate the paint and utilize their athleticism to attack the basket. Goodwin is a beast, and Memphis needs him to hold his own down low. Rumor has it that Yanick Moreira may be back for SMU but even if that is the case, it will be in a limited capacity. The Tigers need to apply offensive pressure by getting to the rim and quieting that SMU crowd.
Game Preview: SMU vs. Memphis
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