The SMU Mustangs are in the middle of a scheduling spot rarely seen in college basketball, playing the second leg of a back-to-back on Thursday against the Lamar Cardinals.
Lamar Cardinals vs. SMU Mustangs (-20, 144)
While Lamar struggled to a 9-23 record last season, they now have 6-foot-9 big man Adam Hamilton back, who registered at least 10 points in six of the eight games he played last season in which he appeared for at least five minutes in.
Hamilton’s clean bill of health is important for defending inside, which is where SMU did most of their damage a season ago with the team having issues making 3-point shots.
A season ago, SMU was 325th in the country in 3-point shooting percentage and even with the addition of Butler transfer Chuck Harris, a lifetime 11.5 points per game scorer on 34.3% 3-point shooting, they led off the 2023-24 season making just two of their 18 3’s against non-Division I Southwestern Assemblies of God.
Both teams had issues on offense last season with SMU 300th in the country in points scored on a per possession basis and Lamar 311th in this category, but early on Lamar will be the team with more chemistry as four of their top six scorers from a season ago are back alongside Hamilton.
When these two teams met a season ago, SMU got a 75-50 victory in which Valentin Catt led Lamar with 16 points and seven rebounds.
That was one of just seven games the 6-foot-10 Catt played in last season and with his return coupled with an SMU team playing their third game in the past four days, this year’s game sets up to be a closer game.
The Play: Lamar +20