South Florida (10-6) at SMU (11-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 15, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Moody Coliseum (7,000) -- Dallas, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: USF 6-4, SMU 7-0. Away Record: USF 4-0, SMU 4-2. Neutral Record: USF 0-2, SMU 2-0. Conference Record: USF 1-2, SMU 1-2. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams sporting identical league records meet at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday night, as the SMU Mustangs entertain the South Florida Bulls in an American Athletic Conference tussle.
This is the second part of a quick, two-game road trip for the Bulls, who are coming off an 82-75 win over Temple. The victory ended a two-game slide for USF, which is 10-6 overall and, surprisingly, undefeated in four true road tests. The Bulls have a tough road ahead as their next three games are all against ranked foes, with home games against No. 19 Cincinnati and No. 18 Louisville, followed by a visit to No. 17 Memphis.
SMU is coming off its own test against the Cardinals, but it was a test the Mustangs failed as they lost the game, 71-63. The Ponies have now dropped two of their last three bouts to fall to 11-4 overall and just 1-2 in league play. However, getting back home should help as they are a perfect 7-0 at Moody Coliseum. The home cooking won't last long for SMU, which visits UCF next.
The all-time series between these two teams is tied at 2-2. USF won the most recent affair, posting a 67-61 triumph at Moody Coliseum in 2009.
USF found itself trailing by 10 points midway through the second half against Temple. However, the Bulls did not fold, ripping off a 16-3 run to grab the lead less than five minutes later. It was an advantage they would never surrender. Victor Rudd led the way in the victory with 23 points and 10 rebounds, as five players scored in double figures for the Bulls.
The offensive effort is not usually so well spread out or so potent for USF, which has just two players averaging in double figures, while ranking 10th in the AAC in scoring (70.3 ppg). Rudd (16.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) leading the Bulls is nothing new, as he is the team's top scorer and rebounder. He bounced back from a nine-point effort in his previous game to tie a season-high against Temple. Corey Allen Jr (12.1 ppg, 3.6 apg) is the second-best scoring option and has needed to improve as a passer as well with Anthony Collins sidelined the last six games with a knee injury. Collins is listed as questionable for this contest.
Despite outscoring Louisville off turnovers (16-3) and in second-chance points (18-3), the Mustangs didn't shoot well enough from the field overall to pull off the upset. SMU hit just 36.9 percent of its total shots in the contest and was outscored 30-6 from beyond the arc.
It was a rare step back for SMU in terms of offensive efficiency. The Mustangs are actually 14th in the nation in field goal percentage (.491), with that mark also leading the conference. They are also a very difficult team to score on, ranking fourth nationally in opponent field goal percentage (.365), while yielding just 66.3 ppg. They may be at a disadvantage in this tilt as leading scorer Nic Moore (13.3 ppg, 4.6 apg) is listed as questionable with a sore Achilles tendon. That puts a lot of pressure on Markus Kennedy (10.5 ppg) and Nick Russell (8.5 ppg), especially since Yanick Moreira (9.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is out with a partially torn MCL.
Moreira did not play against Louisville and the Mustangs still nearly pulled off the upset. However, if Moore is also sidelined tonight they would need some unproven players to step up, which could be too much to overcome.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 64, SMU 62
01/15 10:35:49 ET