One More Chance to Moody to Shine
Life on the Hilltop keeps getting stranger and stranger. After the Mustangs beat LSU Monday night, lines starting forming at Moody Coliseum for tonight’s game against Cal. After the Ponies beat Cal-Irvine in the NIT first round game at Moody, donors purchased all of the student ticket allotment so the students could get in for free. I’m not sure why students at SMU, known for being some of the most financially well-off students in the country, needed someone to pay for their tickets, but it was a nice gesture and there isn’t a 19 year old alive who would turn down anything free. The point is, that suddenly students cared about the basketball program and wanted tickets to their games.
Sidebar: I was asked to help former Cowboy running back and Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, get a couple of tickets to the SMU/LSU game. His wife went to LSU. Not freebies, just tickets to buy to go to the game. I was told, “sorry there are no more tickets, the game is completely sold out.” A year ago, Dorsett would have been picked up at his house, brought to Moody, given a whole section of seats, and had food catered to him. Now they can’t squeeze him in the gym. George W. Bush, Troy Aikman and the Dallas mayor have all attended SMU games this season.
When the Ponies play Cal tonight, it will be the 9th sell-out this season. They are 11-1 at Moody this year and the other team has noticed the difference. Coach Larry Brown said that the team wouldn’t have come back to beat Irvine and maybe not beaten LSU, without the home crowd. The last time the home crowd fans influenced the results of an SMU basketball game was…NEVER.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who’s seen a few hostile crowds in his extensive coaching career, said after his last game at Moody that it was “maybe the ugliest environment I’ve seen as a coach.” Parents must be so proud of their little boys and girls who can make a grizzled veteran like Pitino take notice. He also questioned the religious connection to Southern Methodist, because of the wild nature of the student section. Somewhere Cameron Indoor is beaming proudly.
If SMU beats California tonight, and they’re favored to do that, they would end their memorable season at the new Moody. The team would move on to the NIT semi-finals at Madison Square Garden in New York. While some will argue that even if the Ponies win the NIT, they would just be the 69th best team in the country, it would be hard to dismiss the impact the crowd had had on the success of the team this season. Brown is bringing in the best recruiting class maybe ever at SMU next year, and the team expects to pick up right where it leaves off. And the fans will be waiting in line to be a part of it. Along with NFL Hall of Famers and former Presidents.