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USF Men's Basketball vs SMU Preview/GameThread

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SMU visits the SunDome for the first time in conference play, as both teams deal with off-the-court issues

Zach LeDay (grabbing a rebound) and the bench played well in the previous encounter with SMU
Zach LeDay (grabbing a rebound) and the bench played well in the previous encounter with SMU
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

USF hosts SMU tonight, in the second game between the Bulls and Mustangs. It should be impossible for USF to play worse than last time, when SMU won the previous contest in Dallas 71-54 in a game the Bulls were never in.

The top 5 teams in the AAC are Cincinnati, Louisville, SMU, Memphis, and Connecticut. One of these things, SMU, is not like the others: in the pre-season the other four teams were the consensus top four in the conference. But SMU has been the noisy neighbor with a surprising record of 16-4 and 5-2 in the AAC, and a signature win over UConn. It helps to have a Hall of Fame coach in Larry Brown.

While USF (10-10, 1-6) has been dealing with the NCAA investigation of John Egbunu, SMU had its own scandal, as WFAA-TV in Ft. Worth reported that freshman and former McDonald's All-American Keith Frazier had a grade changed. SMU challenges the report, and Frazier only plays about 16 mpg, but with this just coming to light Sunday night, it may be a distraction for the Mustangs. USF is 0-3 in three lifeless outings since news of Egbunu's investigation came to light. (Hat tip to the Houston Press blog for a cutting headline.)

Oh, and there's a game. In the previous game, of note is the Bulls' bench actually outscored their starters, who shot a woeful 8-34 from the floor, lowlighted by Victor Rudd's 2-14 night. If the offense doesn't get in gear, this could be over early folks.

Nic Moore, SMU's diminutive (5'9") leading scorer looks to be a nightmare match-up for USF's backcourt. Moore leads the Mustangs in scoring, assists, and minutes, and is second in steals. The team-leader in steals, F/C Markus Kennedy is a defensive maven who also leads the team in blocked shots.