Memphis (18-3) at SMU (12-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 6, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moody Coliseum (8,000) -- Dallas, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Memphis 13-1, SMU 6-4. Away Record: Memphis 4-0, SMU 4-5. Neutral Record: Memphis 1-2, SMU 2-2. Conference Record: Memphis 7-0, SMU 2-6. Series Record: Memphis leads, 10-3.
GAME NOTES: Larry Brown faces his toughest test yet since returning to the college ranks as his SMU Mustangs host the Memphis Tigers in a Conference USA tilt at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday.
The Tigers come to Dallas with a 10-3 all-time series advantage, but these schools have split the last four contests. Memphis downed SMU by 18 points last season to avenge a 64-58 loss it experienced the season before in its most recent visit to Moody Coliseum.
Josh Pastner's Tigers are one of the hottest teams in the country as they completed a 94-64 rout of Tulsa to notch their 13th consecutive victory and 17th win in their last 18 games. Memphis has only lost to Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota, and Louisville this season. All three have appeared in the top 25 at one point this season. The Tigers are tied with Southern Miss atop the C-USA standings as they both own a perfect 7-0 league record with their highly anticipated matchup upcoming on Feb. 9.
Junior point guard Joe Jackson was relatively quiet by his standards, going 2- of-4 from the floor to net six points and five assists in Memphis's win over Tulsa. Jackson had scored in double-figures in his previous 16 outings and paces the team with 14.1 points and 4.6 assists per tilt. Sophomore forward Adonis Thomas is chipping in 10.1 ppg to the incredibly deep offensive attack that features eight players with averages of 6.6 ppg or more.
In the Tigers' rout of the Golden Hurricane, D.J. Stephens registered a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five of the team's 12 blocked shots. Antonio Barton scored a game-high 16 points while Chris Crawford tallied 12 points and five assists. Shaq Goodwin contributed 10 points and three steals. The strong showing has become a norm for Memphis, which is outscoring its C-USA foes by an average of 14.9 ppg and outrebounding them by 9.4 rpg.
As for SMU, it fell for the fourth time in five outings on Saturday when it dropped an 84-80 overtime decision to Houston in an intrastate thriller. The setback left the Mustangs just one game above the .500 mark overall and with a dismal 2-6 league record. Brown's squad managed victories over Rider, Utah, and TCU during its non-conference slate, but that success has not continued into the school's final tour of the C-USA. Jalen Jones is the go-to-guy in SMU's system and produces team-best averages of 15.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Jones's backcourt mate, Nick Russell, is a capable offensive player as well with 14.1 points and 4.3 assists per tilt.
In SMU's overtime loss to the Cougars, Russell scored 22 points and Jones added 21. Ryan Manuel scored 15 points and handed out a career-high 10 assists in the loss, as the Mustangs shot 45.8 percent from the floor while allowing Houston to hit 54.0 percent of its field goal tries. The Mustangs blew a 17- point halftime lead in the contest after Houston hit 69.6 percent of its shots from the floor including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc while converting 15-of-16 at the charity stripe in the second stanza. SMU needed a last second 3-pointer from Shawn Williams to force overtime, where it was outdueled.
SMU is a decent team on the defensive end, but it will struggle to keep pace with the dynamic Tigers. Memphis feels like it deserves to be in the top 25 and it will not let its foot off the pedal until it arrives at its desired destination.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 78, SMU 64
02/06 10:38:47 ET