Santa Clara Travels to Dallas to Take on SMU in CIT Semifinals

College Insider Tournament Semifinals
Santa Clara Broncos at SMU Mustangs
Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas
Friday, March 24, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, No TV, Internet Only
Opening Line: SMU -3 1/2
Current Line: SMU -4
Opening Total: 130
Current Total: 130 1/2
Money Line: SMU -180 / Santa Clara +160

SMU hosts Santa Clara in the CIT semifinals in Dallas. The Mustangs are a 4 point favorite.

Though the CIT and CBI tournaments aren’t nearly as prestigious as the NCAA or even the NIT tournaments, it is better to be one of only 22 teams still playing basketball in Division I. I am sure Duke and Pittsburgh would love to have that privilege. You can compare the CIT and CBI tournaments to one of the lower tier bowls in college football. In this College Insider Tournament semifinal match-up the Santa Clara Broncos travel to Dallas to take on the SMU Mustangs. Santa Clara is 22-14 overall and finished fourth in the West Coast Conference with an 8-6 record. In the tournament, they have beaten Northern Arizona 68-63, Air Force 88-75, and won at WCC rival San Francisco 95-91 in the quarterfinals. The Broncos have won 6 of their last 7 games.  SMU is 20-14 overall and finished 7th in Conference USA with an 8-8 record. Before this tournament, SMU had lost 4 straight games. SMU beat Oral Roberts 64-57 in overtime, Jacksonville 63-62, and at Northern Iowa 57-50 in the quarterfinals.

The series is tied at one apiece between Santa Clara and SMU. They played a home and home in 1987 and 1988, with the home team winning each game. SMU is 4-13 ATS the spread in non-conference games the last two seasons. The Mustangs are 2-9 ATS this season after allowing 60 points or less the previous game.

Santa Clara guard Robert Smith left the team in December for personal reasons. He averaged 5.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Santa Clara is led by guard Kevin Foster who averages 19.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. He leads the team in scoring and is tied for the team lead in assists and steals. Forward Marc Trasolini averages 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block a game. He leads the Broncos in rebounds and blocks. Guard Evan Roquemore averages 12.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists to lead the team, and 1 steal a game.  Troy Payne averages 5.9 rebounds and is tied for the team lead in steals with 1.6 a game.  Santa Clara is outscoring opponents 73-71 on the season. The Broncos shoot 42.8% from the field and 35.2% from 3-point range. Bronco opponents are shooting 44.7% from the field. Santa Clara makes 72.9% from the free throw line. They average 35.8 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +4.1. The Broncos average 12.9 assists per game and 14.4 turnovers a game. They force 14.8 turnovers a game on defense. Santa Clara averages 7.5 steals and 3.1 blocks a game.

The SMU Mustangs are coached by former North Carolina Coach Matt Doherty. SMU has no significant injuries right now. The Mustangs are led by senior forward Papa Dia, who averages 18.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.3 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Forward Robert Nyakundi averages 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 steal a game. Guard Jeremiah Samarrippas averages 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. He leads the team in assists and steals. SMU is outscoring opponents 65-61 this season. The Mustangs are shooting 48.6% from the field and 39.7% from three point range. SMU opponents are shooting 42% from the field. SMU makes 74.7% of their free throws. The Mustangs averages 27.5 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of -2.9. SMU averages 14 assists and 14.1 turnovers a game. They force 14 turnovers a game on defense. SMU averages 6.2 steals and 3.1 blocks a game.

It is a little puzzling how a team with such a talented front court can be so bad at rebounding. The Mustangs are ranked 342nd in the nation in rebounding. Only 4 other teams are worse at rebounding than the Mustangs. Santa Clara is decent at rebounding. This game will most likely be played in the 60’s or maybe even the 50’s. The Mustangs live and die by the 3-point shot. Both teams are hot att eh right time. I think this will be close game.

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