When: Monday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. CT
Where: Moody Coliseum, Dallas, TX
TV/Radio: ESPN2 /KAAM 770
Series: Stanford leas 2-1
Last meeting: SMU won 85-70 on Nov. 19, 2015
SMU hosts Stanford Monday night in the fifth leg of a six-game home stand. The Mustangs are in the middle of a four-game win streak and have begun the season 7-0 at home. Last Wednesday’s 92-56 blowout win over McNeese State marked SMU’s 21st consecutive home win against a non-conference opponent. The Mustangs haven’t played for five days and should have relatively fresh legs. Their last time out, the Mustangs got 17 points from sophomore guard Shake Milton against McNeese. He was 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Monday’s game is also the first of back-to-back games as SMU hosts Albany Tuesday night. After Tuesday’s matchup, SMU will be off until a Dec. 27 road conference showdown against Memphis.
Breaking Down Stanford
Stanford has had an incredibly difficult opening schedule in 2016—not just in opponent but in travel. When Stanford arrives in Dallas, the Cardinal will have logged more than 25, 000 miles traveling from campus and back over the first 11-games. Stanford has had mixed results, going 2-2 when away from its home floor. With the Cardinal dropping two of its last three games, it seems that perhaps the travel schedule or the difficulty of the opening schedule (or both) has taken its toll. Five of Stanford’s first 11 opponents are projected to be in the NCAA tournament field, including SMU.
Stanford players to watch
Reid Travis: Travis is one of five players to rank in the top five of his league in scoring and rebounding. He also ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring (18.3ppg) and third in rebounding (9.8rpg).
Dorian Pickens: Pickens has hit from long range at least once in eight if Stanford’s first 10 games. He has also hit multiple 3-pointers in five games. He is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range.
Grant Verhoeven: Verhoeven isn’t playing a ton of minutes, but he is making his time on the court count. He is averaging 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game. He brings a lot of energy off the bench and can disrupt opponents flow. In Stanford’s win over Seaton Hall, he drew five charges and created six turnovers.
Stanford's Projected Starters:
G Dorian Pickens(12.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.7 APG)
G Marcus Allen (3.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 13 BLK)
G Christian Sanders (3.4 PPG,3.1 RPG, 3.9 APG)
F Travis Reid (18.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG )
F Michael Humphrey (7.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG)
SMU's Projected Starters:
G Shake Milton (12.2 PPG, 3.8 APG)
G Jarrey Foster (9 PPG, 58.1 FG%)
G Sterling Brown (10.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.9 APG)
F Ben Moore (11.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG)
F Semi Ojeleye (17.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 47.0 FG%)
Matchup to Watch
SMU’s “bigs” vs Stanford’s bigs: Stanford has an eclectic group of bigs that can cause some problems for MSU depending on how the Cardinal want to play it. They have two 7-footers, and between Reid Travis (6’8”, 245 LBS) and Grant Verhoeven (6’9” 250), they have some muscle to bully the Mustangs down low. SMU’s advantage in the matchup is the athleticism it brings to the court from top to bottom. Though Ojeleye and Moore give up a lot of size to Travis and Verhoeven they should be athletic enough and skilled enough to hold their own and potentially negate any size advantages the Cardinal have.
Keys to the game
Stanford plays well as a team, and is at its best the more players it can get on the court. SMU doesn’t have the luxury of a deep bench so making sure the Mustangs’ starters stay out of foul trouble will be huge. Stanford is turning the ball over an average of 14.1 times a game while forcing an equal number of turnovers itself. If SMU can protect the ball there should be plenty of opportunities for SMU to force some turnovers, get out and make something happen in transition.