Game Preview: SMU vs. UCF

Billy previews SMU's home matchup against UCF tomorrow at 7 p.m. CT!

WHEN: Saturday, January 31 at 7 p.m. CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/RADIO: ESPNU/KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: SMU and UCF are tied 6-6 in the series.
LAST MEETING: The Mustangs won the first matchup this season, 70-61, in Orlando on Jan. 11.

PONY TRENDS

SMU has won seven straight, their longest win streak since the 1992-93 season and beat another Florida school, USF, on the road Wednesday night. SMU wasn’t perfect by any means in the game, but the team grinded out a win in Tampa. Markus Kennedy is coming off a career-high 22 points and Kennedy also grabbed seven boards. The combination of Kennedy and Yanick Moreira, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds last game, is becoming tough for opponents to find an answer to. SMU will hope to replicate some of the success the 1971-72 team had in the throwback uniforms they will wear tonight by beating the 9-11 Knights.

OPPONENT STRENGTHS

UCF has struggled this season and is just 2-7 in AAC play with their two conference wins coming in overtime over Houston and Tulane. With the Mustangs on a roll, this isn’t exactly good timing for the Knights to catch SMU. SMU will likely dominate in the paint with Justin McBride being the only true low-post presence. McBride doesn’t contribute much scoring wise and is only averaging 4.7 rebounds per game and with Yanick Moreira and Markus Kennedy hitting their stride, be ready for a heavy dose of those two.

Three Players to Watch

B.J. Taylor: The freshman guard is the Knights’ leading scorer averaging 14.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game. Taylor isn’t undersized at 6-2, 200 pounds, but Nic Moore won’t have to worry about a 6-5 guard getting a hand up.

Adonys Henriquez: The second freshman in the backcourt is Henriquez, who at 6-6 can be found at the 3 averaging 10.9 points and 2.3 rebounds a game.

Brandon Goodwin: The 6-foot sophomore is just behind Henriquez with 10.7 points per game, but averages 3.5 rebounds per game.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

SMU backcourt vs. UCF backcourt. UCF’s top four leading scorers are all guards and with SMU being just four players deep at guard, the team will have to lock it down on defense. SMU can get some help from Ben Moore, who saw some time at the three last game.

KEYS TO THE GAME

SMU has gotten a grip on its turnover issues from earlier this season, but a fast, strong start will have to be the key tonight. With the retro uniforms and the flash with that, the team just has to play their game. It’s not a marquee matchup, but not underestimating the Knights will be key.


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