Game Preview: SMU vs. Tulsa

Billy previews SMU's matchup against Tulsa on the road, where SMU is looking to bounce back from the Cincinnati loss.

WHEN: Saturday, February 7 at 7 p.m. CT
WHERE: Donald W. Reynolds Center (Tulsa, Okla.)
TV/RADIO: ESPNU/KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: SMU trails Tulsa in the series 14-30.
LAST MEETING: SMU beat the Golden Hurricane 71-65 in March 2013 when the two teams were in Conference USA.

PONY TRENDS

SMU is coming off one of its most disappointing losses of the season to Cincinnati on Thursday. SMU was up eight early, but after Cincinnati stopped turning the ball over early in the game, the Bearcats took over. Cincinnati shot a sizzling 56 percent from the field while SMU shot just 36 percent. SMU had plenty of opportunities to take the game, but easy misses cost the Mustangs. SMU did not rebound the basketball well either. Overall, a game that SMU must forget and move on. The Golden Hurricane are an extremely good rebounding team

OPPONENT STRENGTHS

Tulsa has an unblemished AAC record so far and are coming off a 57-44 win on the road against Houston. The Golden Hurricane’s last loss was to Oklahoma and since then, Tulsa has rolled for the most part. With Rashad Smith and D’Andre Wright in the paint, SMU will have their hands full on the boards and keeping them off the score sheet.

Three Players to Watch

Shaquille Harrison: Tulsa’s point guard averages 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

James Woodard: Tulsa’s leading scorer is 6-3 guard James Woodard, who leads Tulsa with 14.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Harrison may run the show on offense, but Woodard can shoot 37 percent from three-point land and is a threat on the outside.

Rashad Smith: The 6-7 forward is Tulsa’s big threat in the paint, averaging 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and will be matched up with Markus Kennedy down low.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Watch the front courts tonight because these are two teams that love to be physical and rebound. SMU got a shot in the gut from Cincinnati. The Mustangs forwards have to rebound (like that don’t ya?) and have a great game if the team wants to avoid a two-game losing streak. Win and SMU gets back on the right track to improving their tournament chances.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Well let’s start with rebounding. Both teams love to do it and who can grab the boards and get second chance points will win the game. Obviously, keeping the turnovers down will be important, but SMU can’t get beat on the glass again.


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