SMU (11-10) at Marshall (9-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cam Henderson Center (9,043) -- Huntington, West Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: SMU 6-3, MU 8-2. Away Record: SMU 3-5, MU 0-7. Neutral Record: SMU 2-2, MU 1-2. Conference Record: SMU 1-5, MU 2-3. Series Record: Marshall leads, 8-0.
GAME NOTES: Larry Brown and his SMU Mustangs look to snap their losing streak as they tangle with the Marshall Thundering Herd in a Conference USA tilt at the Cam Henderson Center.
Not only do the Mustangs come in as losers of their last three and six of their last seven games, they also are 0-8 all-time versus Marshall. The Thundering Herd coasted to a 74-56 decision over SMU in the Conference USA Tournament in 2012 to extend their advantage in the rivalry.
This contest will close out SMU's three-game road trip, which has already yielded losses at Texas-El Paso (63-54) and UCF (74-65). Brown's squad is in danger of falling to the .500 mark for the first time this season after its 1-5 start in C-USA action. In league games, the Mustangs are second to last in scoring offense (60.3) and fifth in scoring defense (65.0). Jalen Jones paces SMU with 14.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, while Nick Russell (13.7 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Ryan Manuel (11.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg) play vital roles as well.
Jones has not dropped off too much during the Mustangs' recent slump. He has reached double figures in the scoring column in six consecutive outings and produced 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game during that span. Manuel, Russell, and Cannen Cunningham all joined him in double figures in the loss at UCF, but the team was outscored, 15-6, from beyond the arc and also, 17-9, at the charity stripe in the setback.
Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the C-USA this season after being projected to finish near the top, after losing in the 2012 conference championship game. Marshall has underachieved, as its 73-72 loss at Memphis over the weekend dropped it two games below the .500 mark and to a 2-3 league standing. Although Marshall fell to the Tigers, its close loss to one of two remaining unbeatens in the C-USA was a drastic improvement from the 102-46 trouncing it experienced at Southern Miss three days prior.
Marshall's DeAndre Kane, a Preseason All-C-USA First Team member is now first on the squad in scoring (15.0) and 10th in the nation in assists with 7.1 per contest. The junior guard had a forgettable night at USM, committing a career- high 11 turnovers, but bounced back to tally 22 points at FedExForum. Elijah Pittman is netting a second-best 14.5 ppg, while D.D. Scarver (13.7 ppg) and Dennis Tinnon (10.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg) also play vital roles for the team. Rebounding continues to be the strength of the Herd as it ranks second in the conference and is tied for 24th in Division I on the boards with 39.7 per game. It also tops the conference and is tied for seventh in the NCAA with 15.1 offensive rebounds per game.
Although it is tough to predict which Marshall team will show up, the Thundering Herd have proven to be a much better unit at the Cam Henderson Center. SMU hired Brown to help the program achieve many things it never has before, including defeating MU for the first time. However, Kane and Scarver finally played well together in Memphis and if they manage to duplicate that feat, the Herd will be in great position to end their current slide.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marshall 73, SMU 68
01/30 10:34:40 ET