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The Big USF vs. SMU Preview

The SMU Mustangs (16-4, 7-1) come to Tampa tonight looking to roll through yet another conference opponent.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


Radio: 1010 AM

Reason to show up early: If you are one of the first 1,000 fans through the doors of the Sun Dome tonight, you'll get your very own USF mini basketball hoop.

USF vs. SMU sounds like a toss-up, but this is not the SMU you may remember from their Conference USA days. The Mustangs have been revived by Head Coach Larry Brown in the last two seasons, and are vying for the top spot in the AAC. Larry Brown has been coaching since Nixon was president and has spent a lot of time in the NCAA Tournament, having won the national title in 1988 with Kansas. Last year, despite being upset by USF, he led SMU to a 27-10 record and an appearance in the NIT Championship Game.

This season the Mustangs are led by guard Nic Moore, who is currently the AAC Player of the Week. Moore is coming off of an amazing performance against Houston, in which he shot 8 for 8 from three point range and racked up a total of 28 points. SMU's other star is Angolan senior center Yanick Moreira, who averages twelve points and seven rebounds per game. SMU is on a six game win streak, and they have won handily each time. The only teams that have beaten them this year are Cincinnati, Arkansas, Indiana and Gonzaga. SMU is also about to climb back into the rankings if they can keep up their success. USF on the other hand, has lost five in a row. Surely we will see the continued improvement of the team, but SMU would really have to fall apart tonight for the Bulls to manage an upset.

If the five straight losses didn’t give it away, USF is currently in the roughest part of their schedule. From December 31st to January 31st, the Bulls will have played SMU twice, UConn twice and Tulsa twice. Things get a little better in February and March, where we should see some wins against the likes of UCF, Houston, Tulane and ECU. Until then, brace yourself as the Bulls get pummeled by the top of the conference a couple of times more.

Chris Perry’s status is still unknown. He left practice in Hartford over the weekend with chest pains and did not play against UConn, although he returned to watch from the bench. Perry also did not attend yesterday’s practice and will probably not play tonight. Coach Antigua described him as "day to day." Look for Ruben Guerrero and Bo Zeigler to pick up the slack in Perry’s absence.