Game Preview: SMU vs. Temple

SMU gets its third crack at Temple this year and a chance for their third and most important win over the Owls. Billy previews the game!

WHEN: Saturday, March 14 at 2 p.m. CT.
WHERE: XL Center (Hartford, Conn.)
TV/RADIO: ESPN2/KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: SMU and Temple hare split in the series, 3-3.
LAST MEETING: SMU won the last meeting in Moody Coliseum, 67-58.

PONY TRENDS

SMU almost got knocked out of the AAC tournament by a gritty East Carolina team that had some serious fight in them. The Pirates were red hot from three-point range early and there was a feeling that the Pirates were going to be able to make some big shots down the stretch to down the Mustangs, but Nic Moore stepped up like the AAC Player of the Year should. Moore had 20 points and five assists while Markus Kennedy had another strong second half, willing SMU to the win with 15 points and five rebounds. SMU took care of the ball too with only nine turnovers and a couple of them were completely lazy. After their AAC regular season championship and that celebration, this game was going to be tough for SMU to get up for. ECU gave the Mustangs everything they could handle, but SMU did what it had done all year — fight.

OPPONENT STRENGTHS

Will Cummings came off the bench in SMU’s first win over Temple of the year, but had one point and five assists in 27 minutes. In Moody Coliseum, Cummings was healthy and had 14 points, seven steals and seven assists. SMU has to shut down Cummings if the team expects to walk away with a date on Sunday in the AAC title game. As Cummings goes, Temple does too. If SMU is to head to the AAC title game, it will depend on how the team can contain Cummings.

Three Players to Watch

Will Cummings: Cummings is the leader for Temple and had a big-time game in the team’s win over a pesky Memphis squad with 21 points and six assists.

Quenton DeCosey: DeCosey has had some success against SMU in his career and with his ability to shoot the three-ball, SMU has to watch for it.

Jaylen Bond: Bond is Temple’s best big man and averages over eight points per game, but will have to step up against SMU’s frontcourt.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Nic Moore vs. Will Cummings. Cummings led the way for Temple in their win over Memphis just like Nic Moore did for SMU in the team’s win over East Carolina. Both made big plays and contributed in a multitude of ways. It’ll be a battle of two of the best in the AAC tomorrow. Get ready for a great matchup.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Three-point defense. When ECU made their first five three-point attempts, most SMU fans probably weren’t feeling so hot about the team’s ability to defend the three for the rest of the game. Larry Brown went with more length in the lineup, taking Sterling Brown out and adding Cannen Cunningham, but ECU was still able to get quality looks. If SMU can’t get it together with their three-point defense, Temple is fully capable of beating SMU and taking a step to an NCAA berth.


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