LSU (20-13) at SMU (24-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 24, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moody Coliseum (8,998) -- Dallas, Texas. Television: ESPN. NIT Record: LSU 5-6, SMU 1-2. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The National Invitation Tournament continues on to the second round on Monday night when the LSU Tigers visit Moody Coliseum to take on the SMU Mustangs.
The winner will move on to the quarterfinal round later this week to take on the survivor of the Arkansas/California matchup.
LSU improved to 20-13 overall this season by overcoming its road surroundings in last Wednesday's first-round matchup with San Francisco, as it took down a 71-63 victory. It took a three-point lead into intermission and never gave up the advantage in the second stanza, outshooting USF from the field, 46.3 percent to 41.5 percent, and outscoring it from 3-point range, 24-9. Jarell Martin led the way in the winning effort with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, while Shavon Coleman and Johnny O'Bryant III netted 13 points apiece.
SMU (24-9) took out its NCAA Tournament snub frustrations on UC Irvine in the opening round last week with a 68-54 victory to improve to 16-1 at Moody Coliseum this season, overcoming a small halftime deficit to pull away in the second half. Although the Mustangs shot just 33.9 percent from the field on the evening, they were 23-of-34 at the free-throw line and scored 19 points off of 20 UCI turnovers. Cannen Cunningham came off the bench to score a game- high 17 points, Ben Moore and Nick Russell poured in 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Nic Moore handed out eight assists.
The four meetings in this series came in consecutive seasons from 1962-66, with each side coming away with two wins.
The Tigers have found success this season behind a stellar offensive attack, as they shoot 44.4 percent from the field for 74.9 ppg, but their play on the defensive end of the floor has not always been up to par (71.0 ppg). The team's strength comes in the frontcourt with O'Bryant III (15.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Jordan Mickey (12.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.1 bpg) making up an imposing duo, as both players shoot greater than 49 percent from the field. Also bringing regular contributions to the well-balanced scoring attack are Andre Stringer (11.7 ppg), Martin (10.4 ppg), Coleman (9.1 ppg) and Anthony Hickey (8.6 ppg, 3.7 apg).
Unlike LSU, the Mustangs have relied on outstanding defense this season, as they allow just 62.0 ppg on a mere 37.7 percent field goal shooting, the latter ranking fourth-best in the nation. SMU is also fortunate enough to boast a strong offense, knocking down 48.2 percent of its field-goal tries for 71.3 ppg. Moore acts as the catalyst from the backcourt with 13.5 ppg, 4.9 apg and 1.5 spg while putting up excellent percentages from 3-point range (.444) and the foul line (.843). Markus Kennedy (12.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg) and Russell (9.6 ppg) are also integral pieces of the puzzle.
While both teams have had plenty of success this season, SMU has shown to be one of the nation's most well-rounded squads, especially at home, which gives the Mustangs a clear advantage to move on.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 75, LSU 66
03/24 10:34:34 ET