SMU vs UConn Preview and Prediction
SMU vs UConn Preview
SMU (14-6, 4-3 American) plays at Connecticut (10-9, 3-3) on Thursday. The Mustangs have won two straight following an 83-78 win at then-No. 7/4 Wichita State last Wednesday and a 73-62 victory versus Tulane on Saturday.
SMU was named the NABC National Team of the Week following the pair of victories. Shake Milton was named The American Co-Player of the Week as he led the Mustangs with averages of 26.5 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds. He scored a career-high 33 points in the win at Wichita State.
Where the Mustangs rank…
SMU is third in The American in scoring defense at 62.0 (7th NCAA). The Mustangs lead the AAC in 3-point percentage (.412, 13th NCAA) and are second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4, 21st NCAA), turnover margin (3.5, 27th NCAA), 3-pointers made (8.7), steals (8.1), turnovers (11.7) and turnovers forced (15.2). SMU is third in the AAC in assists and 38th nationally at 16.5 per game.
All five starters are averaging double-digit scoring with Shake Milton leading the team at 18.4 (4th AAC), followed by Ethan Chargois at 11.1, Ben Emelogu at 10.3, Jahmal McMurray at 10.3 and Jimmy Whitt at 10.0. Emelogu is leading the AAC in 3-point percentage at 56.6 on 47-83 with Milton at 43.6 percent (3rd AAC), McMurray hitting 42.1 percent, and Chargois hitting 40.3 percent.
UConn has a chance at home
UConn has won eight of 10 games at home this season, falling short against just No. 8 Wichita State and No. 1 Villanova. In conference matchups, the Huskies are 2-1 at home, with victories over ECU and UCF to date.
Junior guard Jalen Adams and sophomore guard Christian Vital are averaging a combined 35.7 points per game in conference play, making them the top-scoring duo in the American. Adams and redshirt junior Terry Larrier rank third in the conference, notching 33.8 points per contest.
SMU hosts East Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Mustangs then play two straight road games, at Tulsa on Feb. 1 and at Houston on Feb. 8.
UConn travels to Temple and UCF, following Thursday night’s matchup with SMU. The Huskies play the first of two games against the Owls on Sunday night at 8 p.m. in Philadelphia, Pa., followed by a trip to Orlando for a rematch with UCF at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night.
This is a bad UConn team, but you can’t count them out at home. Their last two losses have been by an average margin of 22 points. I do not see a blowout in store for us tonight—and either does Vegas.
LINE: -5.5 SMU
The five-to-six point spread isn’t huge, but it shows just how UConn can play at their home arena. SMU will ultimately win the game, but it will be a single-digit margin of defeat for the Huskies.
SMU 73 UConn 66