SMU-Indiana Preview

BY foxsports • November 19, 2014

SMU earned its first preseason ranking in 30 years but likely won't be included in next week's poll after coming up short in a tough environment its last time out.

The 22nd-ranked Mustangs could be in for another difficult test with a visit to Bloomington up next.

SMU tries to bounce back against Indiana, which goes for a fifth consecutive home win over a ranked opponent Thursday night.

The Mustangs easily got by Lamar 93-54 to begin the season Friday before falling 72-56 at No. 13 Gonzaga on Monday. SMU was limited to 31.1 percent from the floor after shooting 61.1 percent in the opener.

"They out-toughed us on both ends of the floor," said forward Ben Moore, who scored 11 after opening with 22 points. "We can't let that happen. We have to find our identity as a team."

Things aren't about to get any easier against the Hoosiers, who are 12-2 at home against ranked foes since the start of 2011-12. They've won their last four - all against Big Ten opponents - while shooting 51.2 percent. Yogi Ferrell averaged 20.0 points in those games.

The Hoosiers are on the verge of opening 3-0 for the fifth consecutive season after Monday's 83-64 win over Texas Southern. Ferrell and Robert Johnson combined for 41 points and 13 assists while star freshman James Blackmon Jr. scored 19.

"We're starting to formalize an offensive identity and I think when we look at our backcourt right now, what we envision is starting to come into place and we're basically playing with three point guards," coach Tom Crean said. "Ball movement should be a strength for us. It has to be."

Indiana, which blew out Mississippi Valley State 116-65 in Friday's opener, is shooting 61.7 percent. The Hoosiers have been especially dangerous from 3-point range, going 21 of 38.

They are 1-2 against the Mustangs, though the programs haven't met since 1977.

"There's no question this is going to be an incredibly challenging game in many areas for us," Crean said. "SMU brings a lot of everything - not a little of everything - but a lot of everything. They can really score inside, they're tremendous defensively, their length is outstanding, they get really good guard play, they've got 3-point shooters and again, they can go into the bench."

It remains to be seen if Crean will juggle his lineup with sophomores Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson and freshman Emmitt Holt due back from suspensions.

Williams and Robinson failed drug tests while Holt was punished for underage drinking and striking teammate Devin Davis with his SUV earlier this month, sending Davis to the hospital with a serious head injury.

"I know they are anxious to get back. We are anxious to have them back, too," junior Nick Zeisloft said. "They will add a lot to our team."

Williams averaged 7.3 points on 50.9 percent shooting and was second on the team with 4.4 rebounds per game last season. He and Ferrell were the only players to start all 32 games.