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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 20, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Curtis Culwell Center (6,800) -- Garland, Texas. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: TSU 0-1, SMU 1-0. Away Record: TSU 0-2, SMU 0-1. Neutral Record: TSU 0-0, SMU 1-0. Conference Record: TSU 0-0, SMU 0-0. Series Record: SMU leads, 7-1.
GAME NOTES: Larry Brown's SMU Mustangs will look to bounce back as they return to the Curtis Culwell Center to host the Texas State Bobcats for an instate non-conference tilt.
The Bobcats will head to Garland in search of their first victory after their 82-65 loss to Oral Roberts on Saturday dropped them to an 0-3 record. Texas State is playing in its first season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, which marks the third consecutive year the program is affiliated with a new league. The school made another change as it hired Danny Kaspar as its new head coach over the offseason. Although Kaspar's Stephen F. Austin team led the nation in scoring defense last year with an allowed average of 51.1 points per game, that success has not translated over as the Bobcats have allowed 74 ppg through their first three games.
SMU is hoping to contend in its first tour of the American Athletic Conference and its early season performance indicates that it will not be an easy out for anyone. The Mustangs earned back-to-back wins over TCU and Rhode Island to begin their season, but could not overcome the Arkansas Razorbacks' 11-of-22 clip from 3-point range and dropped to 2-1 on Thursday. Brown's team lost despite outscoring Arkansas 42-16 in the paint. SMU is netting 78.7 points per game, despite converting only 44-of-75 tries at the free-throw line.
Texas State has received strong play out of its starting forwards Joel Wright and Emani Grant as they are the top two scorers on the squad with 15.7 and 13.0 ppg, respectively. Wright led the Western Athletic Conference in scoring last season with 17.9 ppg and opened up the campaign with 18 points at Houston and 20 points versus SFA. However, the 6-foot-7 senior was limited to just nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field by ORU. Grant has been unstoppable, connecting on 19-of-24 shots from the floor to lead the SBC in field goal percentage, while also handing out a team-best 3.3 apg. Despite the strong inside play, the Bobcats have lacked scoring out of the backcourt which makes them very one-dimensional.
As for SMU, it is one of the most balanced teams in the nation as eight of the players in the 10-man rotation are producing 6.7 ppg or more. Illinois State transfer Nic Moore has become the go-to-guy instantly and averages 15.0 ppg thanks to 52.9 percent shooting from behind the 3-point arc. The team's second leading scorer is Ben Moore, who contributes 11.3 ppg, while averaging only 14 minutes per outing. Yanick Moreira and Keith Frazier and adding nine ppg apiece despite playing only 20 mpg each. As the Mustangs begin to play tougher competition, their key players will see a rise in their numbers and could have as many as six players carrying double-digit scoring averages by mid-season.
Although both of these schools have excellent coaches, SMU has an edge in talent along with a Hall-of-Famer calling the plays. The Bobcats will eventually be a force in the SBC if Kaspar has an extended stay with the program, but they are not up to par with Brown's Mustangs.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 80, Texas State 62
11/20 10:36:01 ET
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