SMU Basketball takes on the Houston Cougars Sunday in American Athletic Conference action
Special to Rattle and Hum Sports
SMU (15-4, 4-2 American) travels to Houston (11-8, 3-3) to take on the Cougars on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Mustangs are coming off a sweep of three games in four days that saw SMU win at UCF 58-46 last Saturday (Jan. 18), beat Hofstra 73-49 last Sunday (Jan. 19) and defeat Rutgers 70-56 on Tuesday (Jan. 21).The Mustangs, who are receiving votes in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll, are 10-0 at home this season and are 11 games over .500 for the first time since the Mustangs started the 2000-01 17-6.
On defense, SMU is holding opponents to 35.7 percent from the field (1st American, 2nd NCAA) and 59.9 points per game (2nd American, 13th NCAA). SMU has held 22 of its last 28 (16 of 19 this year) opponents under 40% shooting. SMU is also leading the league in rebound margin (+8.5, 10th NCAA), outrebounding 17 of 19 opponents. The only opponents to outrebound SMU were [RV/-] Texas A&M (37-33) on Nov. 30 (W, 55-52) and Rutgers (34-33) on Jan. 21 (W, 70-56). The Mustangs’ best margin was +26 (46-20) versus Sam Houston State on Nov. 26 (W, 72-53).
On offense, SMU is shooting 48.9 percent (1st American, 15th NCAA) and 37.1 percent from 3-point range (3rd American), while averaging 15.4 assists (2nd American, 35th NCAA). The team is averaging 71.8 points per game with eight Mustangs averaging at least 5.3 points. Nic Moore (12.6) and Markus Kennedy (11.6) are averaging double figures. Individually, Nic Moore is third in the American in 3-point percentage (.476, 39-82). Additionally, the Mustangs have outscored all 19 opponents in the paint by an average of 35.8-18.8.
Markus Kennedy was named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll on Monday (Jan. 20), averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead SMU to a 3-0 week last week. The Honor Roll recognition is Kennedy’s second of the season (Dec. 23). Nic Moore has been named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll four times this season. (Nov. 18, Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Jan. 6), averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 assists in the Mustangs’ first two conference games. Junior center Yanick Moreira has also been listed once (Nov. 25). Freshman Ben Moore was The American Rookie of the Week on Nov. 18. Nic Moore was also named to the Corpus Christi Challenge All-Tournament Team.
RECEIVING VOTES: The Mustangs received votes in the AP poll this week (2) for the third time this season. SMU also received votes in the AP poll on Jan. 6 (9 votes) and Dec. 23 (1 vote). This is the first season SMU has received votes since 2003-04 (Dec. 23, 2003).
RPI WATCH: The Mustangs entered the week (Jan. 20) at No. 46 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball RPI, one of five American Athletic Conference teams in the top 50. SMU is 2-4 against teams in the RPI top 100, with wins over No. 27 Connecticut and at No. 88 Wyoming. All four of the Mustangs’ losses have come against teams in the top 100, including three in the top 40 (at Arkansas 69, vs. Virginia 25, at Cincinnati 21, at Louisville 31).