Southern Methodist Mustangs 14-4 (9-4 ATS) at Tulane Green Wave 4-12 (3-8 ATS)
When and Where: Sunday, Jan. 15, Devlin Fieldhouse, New Orleans, La. 6:00pm EST (CBSSN)
Spread: SMU -16.5; Total: 139
You could say this is a battle of two teams heading in different directions, as Southern Methodist enters the contest having won 10 of their last 11, and Tulane comes into the game having lost six of seven. However, the won loss SMU has during that stretch came in their last outing, while the lone victory during the Green Wave’s skid also came last time out. That said, The Mustangs are still 4-1 in Conference USA, while the Wave are just 1-4. The schools have been meeting on the hardwood since 1959 with SMU holding an 18-13 lead and having swept the series last year.
Mustangs Trying to Maintain
Southern Methodist was receiving votes in the latest Associated Press Poll, but after falling at No. 22 Cincinnati 66-64 this week, they may be receiving less in Monday’s edition. The Mustangs have fallen just four times in total on the season. There was a rough non-conference stretch that saw them lose to Michigan by 22 and drop road contests to Southern Cal and Boise State, but they rebounded with 10 straight victories afterwards. Four of those wins came in conference play prior to the setback vs. Cincy.
The team entered the weekend ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 59.5 points per game. Junior forward Semi Ojeleye was averaging 17.3 points and 9.3 rebound through four conference games before being held to 12 and 3 vs. the Bearcats. The squad is second in the country in rebound margin at +13 and leads the league in offensive boards with 13.6 per outing.
Green Wave Get One Back
While the team is coming off of a 15-point win at Souther Florida, there have not been a lot of positives to take out of Tulane’s season. Two of their four wins came against in-state foes Southeast Louisiana, and Southern University. One of their other wins came by seven points at Southern Miss. Other than that they have dropped 12 games, including contests to the likes of New Orleans, McNeese State, and Texas State. They enter the contest with SMU having dropped ten of 11, including conference games, to UCF and Cincinnati respectively. They lost by 13 to the Knights at home, but in Cincy the Bearcats drubbed the Wave by 36 points.
They are one of less than 30 teams in the country to be shooting under 30 percent on the season. Against USF, sophomore Kain Harris scored 27 points in 25 minutes to clinch the team’s first home win in over a month. 10 of Harris’s 27 points came form his 11 attempts at the charity stripe. He ranks third in the AAC in foul shooting at 85 percent and fifth in 3-points shooting with a 43.1 percent radio. Cameron Reynolds is the team’s leading scorer at 15.4 points per game is shooting 40.6 percent from distance. Besides Reynolds and Harris, the rest of the squad makes just 24.3 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. American Athletic Conference
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. American Athletic Conference
- 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- 2-12 ATS in their last 14 Sunday games
Despite recent performances, there is a large difference in skill between the two teams. Tulane played well in the win in Tampa, but USF is an awful basketball team. SMU played well also in their loss to Cincinnati, a team ranked in the top 25 in the nation. The Mustangs took the Bearcats to the wire on the road, and a trip to New Orleans to take on the Green Wave will not exactly seem daunting for Southern Methodist.