This Thursday at 9 pm ET UC will travel to Dallas, Texas, to face the #23 ranked SMU Mustangs at one of the most difficult places to play, Moody Coliseum, after coming off of an unexpected and devastating loss at ECU on Sunday. The game will air nationally on ESPN.
UC beat SMU 56-50 on January 3rd in the Bearcats’ AAC home opener. The Stangs are 2nd in the AAC with their sole loss coming from UC, and no one else has come close to holding SMU to 50 points this year. Only Temple has come close holding SMU to 60 points.
For a full breakdown of the SMU basketball team and key players check out our article earlier this year.
Since the Cats defeated SMU, the Mustangs have gone 8-0 with wins over Memphis (73-59 blowout), Temple, UCF, USF, ECU, Tulane, and Houston. The Mustangs are humming on offense. They rank 1st in the conference averaging 70 points per game. SMU shoots the ball 49.1% from the field. That’s good for 12th in the country, and they of course are always better at home. Defensively, they hold opponents to 58.8 points per game, which is 2nd in the American (UC is 1st with 54.5).
This will be a very difficult road game for the Cats, and UC simply has not been the same team outside of Fifth Third Arena. The Cats are 1-3 in the American away from home, with the sole W over a struggling UCF program. SMU will be hungry for revenge after losing to the Cats earlier this year.
We expect coach Davis to have the full attention of his young team after the collapse at ECU in Greenville, NC over the weekend and three full days to prepare in between games. Troy Caupain must have a bounce-back game, and the UC bigs Clark and Ellis must continue to dominate in the paint and on the boards. Farad Cobb had a big game against SMU hitting 3 3’s down the stretch; he must perform tonight. Cobb is always the X-factor and offense will be a must even though the Cats held SMU to 50 points in round 1.
Prediction: UC wins 66-64.