The Mustangs will take to the hardwood against the 3-13 Houston Baptist Huskies. The contest will give both teams a break away from their conference schedule. SMU will come in as the favorite over HBU, who plays in the Great West conference. Though SMU is a heavy favorite, they will still need to execute their game plan to avoid any possible upset. So what are the keys to victory for SMU tonight?
Don't Lower Yourself to Their Level
SMU, despite holding a 6-10 record, should be able to dominate their Division II opponent. The Huskies have only three wins, with two of them coming against conference opponents. Houston Baptist lost to two C-USA teams so far, with one coming in a loss to Rice, 60-46, and a loss to Memphis, 93-52. SMU has already beat Rice, 73-65, and will play Memphis on January 30. Clearly, Houston Baptist was scheduled as an "easy win" for the Mustangs, so there is no reason that SMU should fall behind in this game at any point.
Cover Andrew Gonzalez
In Houston Baptist's two C-USA games against Rice and Memphis, Gonzalez was the only player to perform against the bigger opponent. He put up 14 points against Rice, and scored 15 points on Memphis. The rest of the HBU players completely shut down versus the C-USA opponents. Behind Gonzalez's 14 points against Rice, the next closest scorer was Mario Flaherty with only 6 points. The same happened against Memphis, as Gonzalez led his team in points once again, with Flaherty scoring only 9 points. The SMU defense just needs to simply locate Gonzalez at all times, and force the other HBU shooters to make their shots.
When SMU looked at their schedule before the season, and saw Houston Baptist penciled in, they already marked it down as a win. There is no excuse for SMU to lose against a Division II Houston Baptist team. As long as Derrick Williams can continue his hot streak, in which he scored 22 points against Rice and 23 points against UAB, then SMU should have no difficulty in capturing their seventh win of the season and giving HBU their third loss to a Conference USA opponent.