Matt Visinsky

Game Preview: SMU vs. Michigan

Hatts previews SMU's matchup in the 2K Classic Championship against Michigan on Friday at 6 pm CT.

When: Friday, November 18 at 6 p.m. CT
Where: Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
TV/Radio: ESPN2/KAAM 770 AM
Series: SMU leads 2-0
Last Meeting: SMU won 82-58 on December 8, 2015 at Moody Coliseum.

PONY TRENDS 

SMU improved to 3-0 on the young season with a 76-67 win over Pittsburgh. Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye led the way for SMU in the second half with 20 of his 24 points to go with five rebounds. The Mustangs continued to play with their backcourt rotation with Dashawn McDowell seeing 11 minutes in the game, many of those coming in the first half while Shake Milton battled foul trouble. SMU limited their turnovers and moved the ball better than they had in the first two games, even against the zone. 

SCOUTING MICHIGAN 

For the third straight season, SMU will square off against Michigan in non-conference play. The Wolverines are coming off a dominating 18-point win over Marquette, where they forced 17 turnovers. The veteran squad has been playing better on both sides of the ball averaging over 75 points per game while holding opponents below 60. Michigan is led by three seniors Derrick Walton Jr.,Zak Irvin, and Mark Donnal who have been leading the way on the offensive end. Michigan’s size will certainly be a big test for SMU with the likes of Moritz Wager, Mark Donnal and DJ Wilson who also provides some length. 

THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH 

D.J Wilson (6-10, 240 pounds, Junior): After a good sophomore year, D.J Wilson’s athleticism certainly jumps out at you with some of the plays he’s able to make. At 6-10, he provides a lot of length and seems to always be around the rim ready to finish plays off. Wilson will also step outside and take a couple threes per game although SMU will be happy to let him take those shots instead of doing damage inside.  

Zak Irvin: (6-6, 215 pounds, Senior): Irvin led the way for the Wolverines in the scoring department going for 16 points in their win over Marquette. The 6-6 guard was efficient from three-point territory going 3 for 4 and shot 50 percent overall. Irvin will likely match up with Sterling Brown in a matchup of two guards that will be working all over the floor to win the hustle plays. 

Mark Donnal (6-9, 240 pounds, Senior): Donnal is part of that senior trio that just continues to get better. The 6-9 senior continued his strong start to the year finishing with 15 points and 4 rebounds going 6 for 8 from the field. The senior forward has also been a force on the boards so far grabbing 3 offensive rebounds in the win over Marquette.  

PROJECTED STARTERS 

G Derrick Walton Jr.
G. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
G. Zak Irvin
F D.J Wilson
F Mark Donnel 

MATCHUP TO WATCH 

D.J Wilson vs. Ben Moore: With the length both of these players possess, it’s likely they will match up a lot against each other Friday night. Both Moore and Wilson are always looking to get to the rim and get on the glass for offensive rebounds. Moore struggled on the glass Thursday night in SMU’s matchup against Pittsburgh, but will be much closer to the 10 rebound mark to win this matchup. The goal for SMU’s senior leader will also be to force Wilson out on the perimeter and keep him away from finishing off alley oops. 

KEYS TO THE GAME

In SMU’s victories the past two seasons against Michigan, they’ve been able to hold the Wolverines below 60 points on both occasions while forcing 35 turnovers. This was also while holding them below 40 percent shooting. This will again be the key defensively to slow down the Wolverines big man trio of Mark Donnal, Moritz Wagner and D.J Wilson. How SMU is able to handle these three bigs will go a long way towards deciding this matchup. On the SMU side, they have to stay out of foul trouble and be able to attack zone defenses the way they did in the second half. Dashawn McDowell or Tom Wilson are also going to have to provide some quality minutes off the bench to spell Shake Milton and keep the offense running effectively. 


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