Southern Methodist Mustangs at Houston Cougars
Well, the world will be watching as the eighth best team in the nation, the Houston Cougars will take on
their in-state rival, the Southern Methodist Mustangs come 8 PM. The game will be played in the Fertitta
Center in Houston and surely looks to be a great contest. Houston fans recently saw their arena
remodeled and are looking to set the stage for a victory, while the SMU Mustangs will look to steal a
game on the road. It would be great for their position going into the tournament and could greatly affect
the seeding for both teams. Houston is -12 ½ in this game over SMU.
The two teams are quite similar on paper. They each average around the same points total, Houston
averaging 75.7 points per game and Southern Methodist averaging 72 per game. On top of that, the
teams average roughly the identical number of steals and assists per game, Houston at 6.7 steals per
game and 15.1 assists with Southern Methodist at 6.0 steals and 14.1 assists respectably. Unfortunately,
that may be where the similarities end, however.
SMU Loves to Push the Pace
Southern Methodist relies on their offense to get them going, whereas Houston is led by efforts at the
other end of the floor. The Cougars controls the tempo and the momentum of their opponent by
controlling possessions and limiting quality opportunities with overpowering defense. They play a
primarily man-to-man schemed defense while Southern Methodist plays a famous version of zone
defensive structure. Houston typically keeps their points total relatively consistent from game to game
and Southern Methodist, if hot on a particular night, can score over 90 points, something fairly uncommon
at the college level. Houston, if they have a weakness, is just that. They cannot seem to score more than
85 points on a given night, save for those that turned into a complete exhibition game against far lesser
competition. However, with that in mind, Houston also has not scored fewer than 63 points, but two
times. They control the game and their offensive production to meet the needs of the game. If their
defense is containing the opposition, they likely won’t be dropping many points, because, well, they simply
don’t need to.
Houston Fantastic Season Thus Far
The Mustangs are a far more inefficient team in general than the Cougars. They shoot a combined 43.5
percent from the floor while Houston is successful in 44.7 percent of their shots taken. Aside from the
efficiency gap, the two teams play with a different style of aggressiveness as well. Houston averages
over three more rebounds per game than the Southern Methodist, showing that they, on average, are a
more aggressive team.
Speaking of the aggressive, attacking nature of the Cougars, they also average 8.6 fewer points given up
per contest. That is a remarkable number, especially in this comparison. The Cougars are widely touted
as one of the best defensive team in the landby giving up 60.8 points per game. Because of the rivalry, I
think the Mustangs will keep this one close, but I think the Cougars will pull it out at home and win by a
score of 73 – 64. Take SMU to cover in this game.