Rice (5-21) at SMU (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 27, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moody Coliseum (8,998) -- Dallas, Texas. Television: Time Warner Texas. Home Record: Rice 5-9, SMU 6-6. Away Record: Rice 0-9, SMU 5-6. Neutral Record: Rice 0-3, SMU 2-2. Conference Record: Rice 1-11, SMU 3-9. Series Record: SMU leads, 119-77.
GAMES NOTES: In a Lone Star State shootout the Rice Owls will collide with the SMU Mustangs at Moody Coliseum in Conference USA action on Wednesday night.
Rice's struggles continued on Saturday in an 89-64 rout at the hands of Tulane. The setback was the sixth straight and eighth in the last nine games for the Owls who are just 5-21 overall, with just a single win in 12 conference bouts. Hitting the road isn't likely to help the Owls who are winless in nine trips this season. Rice will host another in-state rival next when it faces Texas-El Paso.
SMU's efforts this season haven't been as futile as those of Rice but at 13-14 overall the Mustangs haven't been wildly successful either. Conference play has really hurt the cause during Larry Brown's first season at the helm with the Mustangs just 3-9 in C-USA action while taking losses in four of their last five bouts. SMU has split its 12 games at Moody Coliseum this season but a trip to take on UAB is next on the schedule.
In the first half of this season's series the Mustangs took a 61-39 decision at the Tudor Fieldhouse. The win ended a three-game winning streak for Rice which is now trailing the all-time series, 119-77.
Rice was dominated by Tulane on Saturday. The Owls were outscored 21-6 on points off turnovers and on the short end of a 39-23 difference in rebounds. Max Guercy and Tamir Jackson each tallied 19 points for the Owls but the rest of the team managed just seven field goals.
Rice ranks among the worst teams in the league in most statistical categories. including points (60.2 pg), assists (10.9 ppg), rebounds (25.8 pg) and field- goal percentage (.401). The Owls also let teams shoot 48.6 percent from the floor which is one of the 10 worst opponent field goal percentages in the country. Jackson (16.3 ppg) has been the only real consistent offensive weapon for the Owls though he shoots at just a 38.3 percent clip from the field. Guercy (10.0 ppg) and Julian DeBose (10.0 ppg) add limited scoring depth.
SMU lost in a tight battle with East Carolina on Saturday, falling in a 72-69 decision. The Mustangs had a four-point lead with less than two minutes to play but a 12-2 run down the stretch helped the Pirates pull away for the win. Jalen Jones had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds to pace SMU.
Jones (15.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) has quite often been the player pacing the Mustangs as the lead scorer and rebounder. The 6-foot-6 swingman shoots better than 50 percent from the field and has score in double figures in 12 straight games while posting eight double-double this season. Nick Russell (14.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) is a capable scorer as well as the Mustangs' leading distributor, while Ryan Manuel (12.4 ppg) shoots better than 45 percent from the floor as another double-digit scorer. As a team the Mustangs are scoring just 64.5 points per game, just under 45 percent from the floor. However on defense the Mustangs have held teams to less than 40 percent shooting.
Led by Jones, SMU should have no problem dealing with the Owls, whose track record on the road speaks for itself.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 69, Rice 59
02/27 10:36:58 ET