When: Wednesday, February 10 at 8 p.m. CT
Where: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network/KAAM 770 AM
Series: Tulsa leads 30-17
Last Meeting: The Mustangs won 81-69 at Tulsa in the AAC opener on Dec. 29.
Line: SMU -10
SMU got back to its winning ways with a 92-58 stomping of USF last time out. SMU comes in at No. 16 in the AP Top 25—the schools’ 12th straight week in the Top 25.
The Mustangs are pretty good this year (understatement)—they are leading the AAC in 9 of 21 statistical categories and are in the top 10 of seven rankings in the NCAA.
Apparently part of being good at basketball is scoring a lot of points, and SMU can score…a lot.
The Mustangs are averaging 80 points a game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field (1st AAC, 4th NCAA).
SMU’s 20-2 starts ties for the best 22-game start in program history since 1955. That’s an old record.
Speaking of things that are old, the series between SMU and Tulsa is also very advanced in age.
It dates all the back to 1919. And while Tulsa does have the all-time advantage over SMU, the Mustangs have won four of the last five meetings—including a season sweep in 2014-15.
Since losing to SMU earlier in the season, Tulsa (15-8, 7-4 American has been on a tear—winning seven of its last 10 games, including a 77-63 win over Houston on Sunday. Pat Birt led the way with 27 points with five 3-pointers, while James Woodard added 15 points, Rashad Smith 12, and Shaquille Harrison 10.
Three Players to Watch
James Woodard: the senior guard leads Tulsa with 16.2 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.
Shaquille Harrision: Averaging 15.1 points and 5.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.0 steals a game, Harrision can easily take over a game.
Pat Birt: Only averaging 11.0 points a game, but as he demonstrated against Houston Sunday, he can get hot from outside and score points in bunches.
Matchup to watch
Brandon Swannegan vs Markus Kennedy. Swannegan has 141 career blocks (fourth at Tulsa all-time). You don’t make it that high on the list if you aren’t playing solid defense. Solid defense can lead to frustration. Frustration leads to fouls. And fouls lead to the bench (the dark side).
SMU’s bigs have done a decent enough job managing their fouls, but Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert seem due for a bit of foul trouble.
And if either one of them have to sit for extended time, it could open the door for a very hot Tulsa team.
Keys To the Game
Same as it ever is. Maintain quality ball control—limit turnovers and attack the glass.
Out of 22 opponents, SMU has outrebounded 17 of them. Their 10.4 rebound advantage leads the AAC and is eight in the NCAA.
The points will come. SMU just needs to play smart defense, and limit second chance opportunities. That shouldn’t be too hard right?