Matt Visinsky

Game Preview: SMU vs. UCSB

Billy previews SMU's home nonconference matchup against UCSB in Moody Coliseum on Tuesday at 8 pm CT.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 22 at 8 pm CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Tex.)
SERIES: SMU and UCSB are tied at 1-1
LAST MEETING: SMU won in 2014 80-73 in Moody Coliseum.

Pony Trends

There's still a basketball game to be played even as coaching rumors circulate through the SMU football offices. SMU is looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Michigan where the Mustangs looked flat from the start. Maybe it was a great learning opportunity for the young program that committed 14 turnovers to Michigan's four and had a rough night shooting. There was a couple positives including Sterling Brown's 4-for-6 shooting night and owning the offensive boards 18 to 2 against the Wolverines, but overall, not much good to takeaway and plenty to work on if you're Tim Jankovich and the staff. Shake Milton and Semi Ojeleye were not on either and SMU needs nice bounceback games from the pair.

Scouting UCSB

The Gauchos enter a stretch of games where they're on the road for six of the next seven games. Outside a win over Fresno-Pacific to open the season, the Gauchos have lost three straight games and are struggling to keep things close. The Gauchos are a very young team with 13 freshmen and sophomores on the team this season. Last game against Cal-Bakersfield, UCSB let an 8-0 run late put them down 74-64 with a minute to go, which was the difference in the ball game. UCSB committed 21 turnovers in that game and faced pressure from Cal-Bakersfield for most of the game.

UCSB Players to Watch

G Eric Childress: The lone senior on the team, Childress is the leader at point guard for UCSB and has averaged over four assists per game. Much more of a facilitator, Childress doesn't shoot much, but is shooting over 42 percent from the field this season. If SMU can force Childress into turnovers, it bodes well for the Mustangs tonight.

G Gabe Vincent: Another player averaging over 40 percent from the floor, Vincent is the second-leading UCSB scorer with an average of 14 points per game. Vincent can knock it down from beyond the arc, averaging nearly 40 percent from three-point land.

F Jalen Canty: The big man for UCSB is the the team's third-leading scorer among the starters and at 6-8, 275 pounds, will be a load for SMU's more athletic frontcourt. With the Mustangs only having Harry Froling as a true big man, Semi Ojeleye will have to use his strength, quickness and athleticism to limit Canty.

Projected Starters:

G Eric Childress
G Gabe Vincent
F Jalen Canty
F Ami Lakoju
G Christian Terrell

Keys to the Game

Limit turnovers and close out shooters. SMU left too many shooters open against Michigan and the team paid for it coupled with a poor shooting night. SMU should get a lot of high percentage looks against UCSB with a chance to get the team's confidence back up after the night against Michigan. SMU has to take advantage of these looks and jump on UCSB early on. SMU has to take care of the ball tonight and a big game from Milton would be what the doctor ordered for SMU. SMU has a chance to work on their chemistry and offense tonight against the struggling Gauchos. 

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