WHEN: Wednesday, November 26. Tipoff at 7 p.m. CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas
TV/RADIO: ESPN3; KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: SMU owns a 2-0 all-time record over TSU.
LAST MEETING: The last time the two faced off, it was the 1986-87 season and SMU won 118-67.
SMU is coming off a 78-72 loss to Arkansas, which saw the Mustangs play possibly their most sloppy first halves ever. They finished with 19 total turnovers, which is good for their sixth highest total since the 1976-77 season. They are currently averaging 14.2 turnovers a game, which is just two tenths higher than their average last season (14). However, 72 percent (51) of SMU’s total turnovers (71) have come in their three losses. In those loses, SMU is averaging 17 turnovers a game. If SMU has serious hopes to make any kind of noise in the tournament (or even making it), they have to cut out the silly turnovers.
Keith Frazier has been a bright spot for SMU recently. Against Arkansas, he posted 16 points and seven rebounds- he was one point shy of tying his career-high of 17 points. Five games in to the 2014-15 season Frazier is averaging 11.6 points a game, which is more than double his average for all of last season. We’ll have to see if he can maintain his effectiveness throughout the year, but thus far he has shown vast improvement from last season.
Texas Southern is winless four games into this season. They are averaging 62.5 points a game this season and are losing by an average of 16.3 points. The Tigers are shooting an average of .38 percent from the field and just 27 percent from three-point range. I’m not going to sugar coat it- Texas Southern should be nothing more than a punching bag for SMU. The Mustangs are coming off a rough loss to Arkansas, and have now lost to three top level programs. They have to have pent up frustrations and the Tigers seem like just the team to take it out on. Now, that being said, a winless team is always a dangerous team; they have nothing to lose and are often overlooked. If SMU comes out and continues making these silly turnovers, they will have a tight game with a very bad team. If Texas Southern has any strength, it has to be their front court of Chris Thomas and Tonnie Collier.
Three Players to Watch
Chris Thomas: At 6-5 190 pounds, the junior forward is averaging 16.3 points a game with 6.3 rebounds. He is shooting 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from three-point range. He is quick, athletic and the Tigers leading scorer. He doesn’t create much for others, so if SMU can key on him he might force some bad shots.
Tonnie Collier: Collier is the Tigers’ second leading scorer and has come off the bench in every game this season. He is averaging 14 points a game, with 2.8 rebounds and is shooting 53 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. The 6-8 210 pound junior is probably Texas Southern’s best shooter and most dynamic scorer.
Deverell Biggs: The 6-1 185 pound guard is averaging 11.3 points a game on 37 percent shooting from the field. He has taken 12 three-pointers this season, but only made one. You have to assume that at the rate he is chucking them up, he must feel pretty confident in his ability to hit from long range. The senior guard is Texas Southern’s third leading scorer, but he is also one of their better defenders. Twice this season, he has recorded three or more steals.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Ben Moore vs. Chris Thomas: Against Arkansas, Moore (Ben) was tasked with defending Bobby Portis. All things considered he did an okay job. Portis finished the night with 22 points, five rebounds, and he fouled out of the game. It wasn’t the best of defensive effort- and it wasn’t the best overall effort by the team. But Thomas aint Portis and after having to guard someone like Portis, Thomas shouldn’t be too difficult. Thomas isn’t nearly as big or physical as Portis, but he is still a dangerous player in his own right. As he is the Tigers’ leading scorer, it will be up to Moore to limit his effectiveness.
KEYS TO THE GAME
This should be very simple- stop the turnovers and play bigger down low (I’m looking at you Moreira). Moreira came on in the second half against Arkansas, but it shouldn’t take him that long to get going. He finished with 20 points and 10 boards- a really solid outing. SMU just needs him to play a full forty minutes. Imagine what his line could have been if he showed up in the first half. Texas Southern has no business hanging around SMU and they shouldn’t if the Mustangs their game.