When: Sunday, January 17 at 2:00 p.m CT
Where: Devlin Fieldhouse (New Orleans, LA)
TV/Radio: ESPN3/KAAM 770 AM
Series: SMU leads 16-13
Last Meeting: SMU defeated Tulane in their only meeting last season 66-52 at Devlin Fieldhouse
With a couple of key players in Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy banged up, SMU has not been playing the prettiest basketball lately but have found a way to stay undefeated with sizable wins over UCF and East Carolina. SMU has continued to get huge contributions from Ben Moore, Jordan Tolbert and Shake Milton to help keep SMU balanced. In their last win over ECU, Ben Moore was impressive again with 17 points and four steals while Jordan Tolbert chipped in 15 points. Despite the solid contributions from their big men, SMU did struggle a little bit with turnovers in the first half that allowed ECU to stay in the game. Nonetheless, the Mustangs have continued to frustrate opponents with their play on the defensive side of the ball.
Tulane picked up their first win in conference play Tuesday with an 81-70 victory over another team struggling in USF. Much of Tulane’s struggles have come on the offensive side of the ball where they’ve shot a ton of three’s and turned the ball over way too much. Tulane is averaging six made three’s per game however they are shooting below 30 percent which is good for 317th worst in the country. To go along with this, the Green Wave have turned the ball over on average close to 14 times per game. SMU will have to keep Tulane off the glass as they’ve averaged just less than 13 offensive rebounds per game.
Three Players to Watch:
Louis Dabney: Dabney is the senior leader for the Green Wave averaging just over 13 points and two assists per game. Dabney has a score first mentality, which at times disrupts the offense given he isn’t an efficient scorer at all. When the Green Wave has been good, Dabney has got his teammates involved while limiting turnovers. Dabney likes to shoot it a lot from outside, as well as, drive it into the paint to shoot floaters or dish it to his big men. SMU will take the Dabney that is looking to score first, as the 6-3 guard is only shooting 33 percent from the field.
Malik Morgan: SMU’s going to have to contain Louis Dabney but their bigger concern might be his fellow senior backcourt Member Malik Morgan. Morgan has been a force on the boards this season averaging over 5 rebounds per game, which is a vast improvement over last season. The 6-4, 205-pound guard has also been great at taking it the other way, especially his four steal performance against USF in their last matchup. Morgan is another hot and cold player that likes to get his shots up from the perimeter, something Tulane will likely look to do a lot of against the Mustangs.
Dylan Osetkowski: Only in his second season at Tulane, Dylan Osetkowski has been an absolute force since conference play began. The 6-9, 255-pound big man is coming off back to back 14 rebound performances while also chipping in 19 and 18 points respectively in the Green Wave’s matchup with USF and Tulsa. The sophomore big man from California is more of a traditional big man and doesn’t really look to shoot from too far out although he will attempt a three every now and then. The talented big man has some nice moves down low and will also have SMU on their toes on any missed shots.
Matchup to Watch
Jordan Tolbert vs. Dylan Osetkowski: This is a matchup between two players that are both playing really well on both ends of the floor right now. Both players are going to be aggressive rebounding the ball and setting the tone for their side early on. It doesn’t happen often but Tolbert will likely be giving up a little bit of size to the sophomore but his athleticism is also going to be a challenge for Osetkowski and the rest of the front court to defend.
Keys To the Game
Staying out of foul trouble will once again be key for SMU as it is for the rest of the season, but SMU is going to be tested once again with the mental side of things. With a big matchup looming Tuesday against a really good Houston team, the Mustangs are going to have to avoid looking ahead in a road game in conference play. While this team has shown all year long they are up for the challenge, this will be another test for them to avoid a slip up before heading home. Continuing to get production out of Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy will continue to be important for SMU.