Matt Visinsky

Game Preview: SMU Mustangs vs. Nicholls State Colonels

Billy previews SMU's home matchup against Nicholls State in Moody Coliseum.

When: Wednesday, December 16 at 7 pm CT
Where: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/Radio: ESPN3 and Time Warner Cable/KAAM 770
This is the first meeting.

Pony Trends

SMU is coming off a game where they absolutely crushed Michigan in Moody Coliseum. Keith Frazier probably had his best game as a Mustang as he locked down Caris Levert the entire game and contributed well on the offensive end as well. With Markus Kennedy probably going to be rested tonight with his sprained ankle, it will again be up to Jordan Tolbert and Ben Moore to overpower the Colonels down low. That's a tough task given Nicholls State's length, but SMU is going to face other teams this year that have more length at times and they'll have to be up for the challenge. With their limited depth in the front court, SMU will have to stay out of foul trouble and play disciplined or the Colonels might be able to really pound the ball inside.

Scouting Nicholls State

The Colonels are coming off a 78-60 loss to North Texas, but have now been in the DFW area for a few days now and that's got to be a plus for them to have settled in. That being said, this game really shouldn't be close. TJ Carpenter is coming off a game where he scored 18 and grabbed 12 boards while Ja'Dante' Frye scored just 11, the second consecutive game where his scoring dipped. The Colonels are now 3-5 on the season and haven't been too competitive against bigger schools they've played. Liam Thomas and KC Caudill are two 7-footers that SMU will have to deal with, but both aren't setting the world on fire offensively. With their size, they might have a bit of an advantage grabbing for rebounds, but how physical they are is another thing. SMU will have to play great team defense and rely on positioning to outrebound Nicholls State tonight.

Three Players to Watch

Ja'Dante' Frye: The 6-4 junior forward leads the Colonels with over 20 points per game and seven rebounds. While in his latest matchup against San Diego State saw him have only 12 points, Frye has scored more than 20 in every other game this season outside of his season opener.

Johnathan Bell: The junior guard from California gives the Colonels solid minutes, averaging eight points and almost four rebounds a game in just over 21 minutes per game. SMU will have to watch Bell from beyond the arc, where he's shooting over 40 percent from.

T.J. Carpenter: Nicholls State second-leading scorer on the year with over 11 points per game, close to five rebounds and three assists gives the Colonels a senior playmaker in the backcourt although he's shooting 33 percent on the season.

Matchup to Watch

Frye vs. Frazier: Frye isn't on Levert's level, but Frazier will need to step up again for SMU on the defensive end to keep Frye from getting hot. Frazier can't have a letdown game either like he did against TCU. Consistency with Frazier is something he's working on and this is a good test to show he can keep his compete level high even against a lesser opponent.

Keys to the Game

A fast start. SMU went back and forth with Michigan early before exploding and opening up a big lead. Against other opponents at home especially, SMU has looked asleep at the wheel early in games, but eventually righted the ship. Against a team like this, don't give them much reason to believe in themselves. SMU has to pounce early on this team. To do that, Nic Moore will have to get the offense running and get the bigs involved early. If SMU can develop their game inside, the outside shooters will have great looks at building a big lead. They'll have to convert those threes when they get the looks and get on Nicholls State early to shut them down.

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