Brown has SMU Back in the Big Time
It would figure that the day I decide to write about how good the SMU men’s basketball program has become, they’d lose. After scrapping and biting and clawing their way back into the top 25 for the first time in three decades, they lose on Sunday to Temple. Temple was just 6-17 going into the game, just 1-10 in the American Athletic Conference. On top of that, SMU had just beaten Temple by 23 points ten days ago, and the Owls were playing without their top rebounder. So today may not be a a great day to be telling this story, but the Mustangs are still having a fantastic season that will likely end with the Ponies playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993.
Or course head coach Larry Brown deserves most of the credit. Sure, he has some talented players but even super freshman, Keith Frazier of Dallas Kimball high school and was a McDonald’s All-American, is seeing little playing time and averaging only six points a game with one assist. Brown is doing it with what he’s always done it with, smarts, guts and team work. He won with it in the NBA and he’s won with it at Kansas and UCLA. Even after the loss to Temple, SMU is 20-6 on the year, with all six loses coming on the road. The Mustangs moved into the beautifully re-done Moody Coliseum last fall and have somehow made it into a home court advantage. That’s shocking enough considering that every game I’ve gone to at Moody in the past 20 years, there have been more cheerleaders than fans. I’m not kidding.
Brown has done it with a little smoke and mirrors and lots of hard work – but he’s done it, and plans on making the Mustangs even better. Next year he already has a verbal commitment from Emmanuel Mudiay out of Prime Prep Academy in Dallas. Mudiay is ranked as one of the top three high school seniors in the country. He chose SMU over Kentucky, Oklahoma State and Baylor. When is the last time a local basketball player chose SMU over Kentucky, or any other top 25 program? Never, that’s when. It has to be Brown. Going all the way back to Larry Johnson, SMU has been over-looked by the vast talent in its own backyard but apparently Brown has found the secret formula to keep them at home.
Mudiay’s teammate at Prime Prep, Elijah Thomas, may still follow his buddy to the Hilltop. He’s another Rival.com top 25 national player. How cool will it be to have a mini-Duke right here in our backyard? Can Moody become Cameron west? The Mustangs non-conference schedule is weak but right now many experts have them seeded around 8th in the NCAA tournament. Being in the AAC has certainly helped, playing Louisville and UConn and Cincinnati helps build a teams toughness as well as credibility. The rest of the country has taken note. Now the big problem with SMU doing so well……you can’t get a ticket.
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