Men’s Basketball: UConn at SMU preview capsule

Pictured: Christian Vital, number 1, vs a Temple opponent Jan. 11, 2017 at Gampel Pavillion.  The Huskies won 73-59.  Their game against SMU is coming up 7pm on Thursday in Dallas, TX. (Tyler Benton, The Daily Campus)

Time and Place: 7 p.m. Thursday at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas

Where to Watch: ESPN2, channel 42.2 on Storrs TV listings

Last Meeting: SMU won 80-54, on Mar. 3, 2016 at Moody Coliseum

UConn’s Last Time Out: 72-69 loss at Georgetown last Saturday

SMU’s Last Time Out: 80-64 win at Tulane last Sunday

Projected Starting Lineups: UConn (7-10, 2-3 The American) vs. SMU (15-4, 4-1 The American)

G: Jalen Adams vs. Shake Milton

Adams continues to lead UConn with 15.6 points and 6.4 assists per game. Milton leads SMU with 4.2 assists per game, while turning the ball over 1.7 times per game.

G: Rodney Purvis vs. Sterling Brown

Purvis was held under 10 points for the second consecutive game in Saturday’s loss to Georgetown. Brown leads SMU with a 47.6 percent mark from three-point range (30-for-63).

F: Vance Jackson vs. Jarrey Foster

Jackson scored 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting in the first half against Georgetown, but just two points in the second half as UConn collapsed. Foster scored a career-high 19 points in a win last Sunday over Tulane.

F: Kentan Facey vs. Semi Ojeleye

Facey again led UConn with six boards against Georgetown, but had just one in the second half as the Huskies were out-rebounded 19-9. Ojeleye led SMU with 21 points against Tulane, including three makes from long range.

C: Amida Brimah vs. Ben Moore

Brimah had one of the worst games of his four-year UConn career against Georgetown, fouling out with three points and three rebounds after just six minutes on the court. Moore leads the Mustangs with 7.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

Talking Points

Jalen in Control: Adams played a very strong game at point guard against Georgetown, racking up 22 points and nine assists to help earn him a spot on the American’s weekly honor roll. He has helped steer the Huskies to at least 64 points in each of their last four games, and spurned an anemic early season offense to greater heights with improved ball movement.

Vance Rising: Jackson, a freshman forward, has begun to find his footing in the UConn starting lineup. The six-foot-eight sharpshooter has played quite well in 2017, beginning with a 14-point performance in Memphis on Jan. 5. With 23 points this past week in two games, including some sweet shooting and fancy footwork in the paint, he earned the nod for American Rookie of the Week.

Mustangs Still Ride: The offseason departure of legendary head coach Larry Brown, who led SMU to a 25-5 record despite a postseason ban last season, does not seem to have slowed the program down one bit. New head coach Tim Jankovich has kept the team playing at a very high level this season, including an 8-0 record in December. The Mustangs competed until the end with conference favorite Cincinnati, falling 66-64 on the road last week.

Moody Struggles: Trips to SMU’s home court at Moody Coliseum in American Athletic Conference play have gone very, very poorly for UConn. In 2014, the season they won a national championship, they lost 64-55 there. In 2015, UConn lost 73-55. Last year, the Huskies were dominated from tip-off in an 80-54 loss that heavily damaged their hopes of an at-large NCAA tournament bid.


Tyler Keating is associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering football and men’s basketball. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu. He tweets @tylerskeating.