SMU (22-4 overall, 12-1 in AAC) vs. Tulane (4-20 overall, 1-11 in AAC)
WHEN: Wednesday, February 15 at 8 p.m. CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/RADIO: ESPN3/ASN | KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: SMU leads 19-13
LAST MEETING: SMU won 80-64 on Jan. 15.
It can't be going any better for SMU than it is right now. Well, it could if freshman guard Dashawn McDowell was available for Wednesday's matchup against Tulane, but coming off a win over Cincinnati at home and sitting atop the American Athletic Conference, it's going pretty well. SMU twice came back from a double-digit deficit to beat the Bearcats 60-51. That win, the first win over a ranked opponent at home since 2014 for SMU, helps the Mustangs' standing in a huge way for the NCAA Tournament. Don't tell SMU that though. They're trying to stay focused on one game at a time instead of their tournament resume. The Mustangs did their best to help that resume though as the team ended the game on a 21-2 run, shutting down the Bearcats entirely. Now, it's time for SMU to try and avoid a hangover against the Green Wave.
The misery continues for first-year coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. The Green Wave sit at 4-20 on the season and have just one win in AAC play so far this season. It's been a rough go to say the least, losing by 29 to Houston last time out. The Green Wave allowed the Cougars to shoot over 52 percent from the field and 53 percent from beyond the arc. Damyean Dotson scored 32 points as Tulane fell behind at the half big thanks to a 17-4 Houston run to close out the half. From there, Houston cruised to the 91-62 win. The Green Wave's lone win over USF early in AAC play feels like forever ago.
Key Green Wave Players to Watch
G Ray Ona Embo: The freshman from France has emerged for the Green Wave as a starter and the past two games has scored 15 and 12 points against East Carolina and Houston.
G Cameron Reynolds: The redshirt junior ranks fifth in the American in scoring with over 15 points per game. Reynolds can light it up from beyond the arc a bit and has had three 20+ point games in AAC play. Against SMU earlier this season, the Mustangs held Reynolds to just 13 points.
Projected Tulane Starters:
G Melvin Frazier
G Cameron Reynolds
G Ray Ona Embo
G Malik Morgan
F Ryan Smith
Projected SMU Starters:
G Shake Milton
G Sterling Brown
G Jarrey Foster
F Ben Moore
F Semi Ojeleye
Matchup to Watch
Cameron Reynolds vs. Sterling Brown: Brown is coming off a game where he lead with his defensive play more than anything. The senior is going to have another tall task with handling Reynolds, something SMU did earlier this season. While Tim Jankovich's team relies on team defense for the most part, it'll still be on Brown to lock down Reynolds.
Keys to the Game
Close Tulane out early. The Green Wave sit at just 4-20 this season so a fast start and putting them down quickly is the most important thing SMU can do on Wednesday night. In New Orleans, SMU did allow Tulane to hang around at the half before getting up on them in the second half and putting them down. This time out, SMU needs to avoid what could be a letdown following the win against Cincinnati by jumping all over the Green Wave.