When: Sunday February 28 at 2 p.m. CT
Where: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, TX)
TV/Radio: CBSSN/KAAM 770 AM
Series: SMU leads 17-13
Last Meeting: SMU beat the Green Wave earlier this season 60-45 on January 17.
SMU got a tough win Thursday night over a struggling Memphis squad. It wasn’t SMU’s best performance however they got back to rebounding the ball the way they wanted to and kept alive their chances of winning their second straight AAC Championship with three more wins. SMU will need to be a lot sharper on Sunday as their effort against Memphis is not going to get it done against a lot of teams. SMU have struggled mightily at the free throw line where they are shooting just over 50 percent from the line in the last couple of games. One player that is certainly not struggling lately, is SMU senior Nic Moore. Even on a down night, Moore still had 12 points Thursday night, as well as, six steals and six assists showing all the ways he can affect a game. In his last five games, Moore has been averaging 20 points and just less than seven assists over the last five games, which has made up for a couple players that have slowed down late in the year. Markus Kennedy is also trending up with 31 points and 17 rebounds in his last two games.
It’s been a tough season for Tulane who have only picked up two wins, Memphis and ECU, since seeing SMU in mid January. Overall, the Green Wave is just 3-12 in conference play and 2-8 on the road. The Green Wave have been clicking on the offensive side of the ball lately though averaging 82 points per game over their last four games including a 100 point effort against ECU. The struggling Green Wave haven’t been able to stop many teams on the defensive end but did hold SMU to just 60 points in their last meeting.
Three Players to Watch:
Dabney has been on a scoring run over his last six games as he tries to finish out his career at Tulane on a high note. Dabney has averaged 20 points per game over his last six while handing out a couple assists per game. The 6-3, 210-pound guard is not afraid to put it up from the three-point line however he is only averaging 32 percent from behind the arc. Dabney also likes to attack the rim and will make a concerted effort to get SMU’s big men in foul trouble early by going to the basket.
Morgan is another senior for the Green Wave who has shown he can put up points in a hurry. Just in the last couple of weeks, Morgan has had 26, 23 and 18 point games but has also been held to single digits in three games. Morgan is a streaky shooter who tends to fall in love with the three ball even though he doesn’t shoot it terribly well. Morgan was held in check by SMU in their last matchup where he had only 10 points and also turned it over six times.
The sophomore forward is probably Tulane’s best all-around player averaging 11 points and nine rebounds per game. Osetkowski has been rebounding the ball especially well lately, which has allowed him to have four straight double doubles. The 6-9, 255-pound forward is another player that has struggled to hang onto the ball lately with multiple turnovers per game.
Matchup to watch
Markus Kennedy vs. Dylan Osetkowski- Both teams rebounding the ball very well and it largely starts with both of these players. Tulane is averaging 38 rebounds per game with almost a third of those coming from Osetkowski. If Kennedy is able to neutralize Osetkowski, SMU could see a rebounding edge similar to the 40-28 advantage they had against Memphis.
Keys To the Game
With two big games coming up after Tulane, SMU has to keep their attention on Tulane and avoid this being a trap game. By keeping their effort up and playing solid perimeter defense, the Green Wave have shown the tendency to start forcing shots up. SMU has got to stay out of foul trouble again, as has been the story all year, and continue to play efficiently without turning the ball over.