When: Saturday, January 30 at 7 p.m. CT
Where: Moody Coliseum—Dallas, Texas
TV/Radio: ESPNU/KAAM 770 AM
Series:SMU trails 6-12
Last Meeting: SMU won 66-57
After a 24-hour delay, and braving the record east coast snowstorm, the Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season. SMU’s game vs. Temple was unlike any they had all season long. The Owls made 14 three-pointers while shooting nearly 50 percent from behind the arc, and Devin Coleman made all seven of his three-point attempts. Defensively, the Mustangs just did not show up like they have all season long—allowing Temple to shoot 47 percent from the field overall. While the Mustangs never quit, dwindling down the Owls’ once 19-point lead to nine, they gave up a season-high 89 points and made just 3-14 three-pointers. 3
Scouting Memphis Tigers
While the Tigers may not be as good as in the past when the Mustangs have faced off against them, they’re still a dangerous team. Even with eight freshmen on the team, Memphis has two veteran leaders in Shaq Goodwin and Ricky Tarrant Jr.. Goodwin is coming off of a career-high 35 points, but their biggest weapon is freshman Dedric Lawson. Lawson leads the team in points (14.8) and rebounds (8.8), but he also shoots just above 40 percent from the field. Trahson Burrell is another athletic forward to keep an eye on, although he isn’t the scorer that Lawson is. Overall, the Tigers defend well and rebound well, and considering these two teams’ rivalry in the past, SMU is going to have their hands full come Saturday.
Three Players to Watch
F Dedric Lawson: Lawson is a very dangerous player. While the freshman usually struggles to shoot a decent field goal percentage, he has the ability to go off. Even if he struggles from the field, his eight double-doubles on the year prove he can also rebound successfully.
F Shaq Goodwin: Coming off of the highest scoring game of his career, you bet Goodwin is going to look to prove something against an SMU team that has had his number all of last year. He’s also a load to handle down on the block, which should create for an entertaining and key matchup against Markus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert.
G Ricky Tarrant Jr.: Tarrant is less of a scoring threat, but the senior guard carries a lot of experience with him. Now, Tarrant has the ability to knock down shots, but he has been streaky all year long. If he starts making shots early for the Tigers, SMU will have to deal with another scoring threat.
Matchup to Watch
Ben Moore vs. Dedric Lawson: Moore and Lawson are two athletic and lengthy forwards that will matchup well against each other on Saturday. Moore is going to have to guard Lawson all over the court, so he’ll have to worry about his fouls. But the Illinois native has the experience edge on Lawson, which should play a big factor in such a high-profile game. Moore also has some size on the Memphis forward, so in the end, it should come down to Moore’s ability to score in the paint versus Lawson’s ability to stretch the floor.
Keys To the Game
Jordan Tolbert, Ben Moore and Markus Kennedy all have to avoid foul trouble against Lawson and Goodwin. While the Mustangs can’t get hammered in the paint, they have to do a better job of guarding the 3-point shot, especially with Avery Woodson and Dedric Lawson. SMU also has to limit second chance points, especially while playing a very good rebounding team in Memphis. The Tigers don’t shoot particularly well from the floor, so if the Mustangs can get momentum going their way early, they will have a chance to built up a lead (especially since they’re at home).