SMU(17-5, 6-3 AAC) hosts the Temple Owls (6-14, 1-7 AAC) in the second game of the Mustangs' three game home stretch. The Mustangs will attempt to win their 12th straight game at home.
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. CT
WHERE: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)
RADIO/TV: ESPNews, SMU - KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: This will be the first meeting between the two programs since Temple beat SMU in the NCAA Final Four in 1956.
PONY TRENDS: In front of a sold out crowd of 7,000, SMU dominated the Memphis Tigers at Moody Coliseum. SMU's fiercest competition, simply could not keep up in the second half. SMU shot the ball at a high level and returned to its strength of beating opponents down in the paint.
Sophomore Markus Kennedy went an unheard of 10-for-10 from the field and helped to contain Memphis star big man Shaq Goodwin to only six points. SMU looked nothing like the team that took the floor against South Florida as they executed with intensity, aggression and focus.
With each game SMU is looking more and more comfortable with the system Larry Brown has put in place. The freshmen are beginning to understand their specific roles and are playing with more confidence. Sterling Brown and Keith Frazier both hit huge shots vs. Memphis and Ben Moore continues to impress with his motor, rebounding and unique skillset.
OPPONENT STRENGTHS: The Temple Owls have a record that is deceiving. They have suffered defeats in close games including a four-point loss to Cincinnati, a two-point loss to Central Florida and a seven-point loss to South Florida-- all teams that have given SMU problems at some point.
Temple is the only Division-I team holding four players that average 14 points or more per game. Three of those players are in the Owls' back court. Temple's leading scorer, Dalton Pepper, is a three-point specialist, who is averaging three per game.
Another player SMU will have to account for is Anthony Lee. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound junior is a double-double machine and leads the conference with nine rebounds a game.
With Pepper, Lee, Cummings and DeCosey all possessing the ability to score, SMU will have to continue their great defensive play to avoid the upset.
Matchup to Watch: Lee vs Kennedy. Kennedy had his best game of the season at Memphis, earning himself well-deserved television time and national spotlight. But with media paying more attention to him it will be interesting to see if he can continue to dominate. When SMU went down to South Florida, Sterling Brown admitted outright that the team had underestimated their competition and took them lightly.
Kennedy struggled immensely in that matchup, being outplayed by Chris Perry as well as Victor Rudd. Anthony Lee and this Temple team have the ability to do the same thing. Lee is an experienced athletic presence who is strong down low. He will do a great job of going after those second chance opportunities. Should be a great matchup.
Keys to the Game: SMU – Don't take Temple lightly. It is always apparent when SMU thinks they have a game under wraps or in the bag. They play much more undisciplined and much less focused. USF was a terrible game for a projected bubble team to lose and this would be even worse. SMU must stick to their game plan and play for 40 minutes. A loss to Temple at home would be inexcusable.
Temple – Temple has to shoot the basketball well from the outside, which will open up the floor. SMU is still very susceptible to the three and will give open looks on the perimeter. Memphis missed many of their open chances from three, but Temple has to take advantage of them.
Game Preview: SMU vs. Temple
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