Under the direction of legendary coach Larry Brown, the Southern Methodist University Mustangs are off to a great 8-2 start. One can already see the impact Brown has made on the program. With their only two losses coming in an 89-78 defeat at Arkansas and a close 76-73 defeat at the hands of Virginia, the Mustangs are poised to show the country that they mean business.
The distinguishing factor for this team is certainly their overall balanced play on offense and defense. Only two players, Nic Moore and Yanick Moreira, are averaging double-figures in points, with Moore putting up 14.5 per game and Moreira putting up 10.8 per contest. However, key counterparts chip in on a nightly basis, like Markus Kennedy, who averages 9.1 points, Nick Russell at 8.5, Ben Moore at 6.4, Keith Frazier at six points per game, Ryan Manuel at 5.6, and Canne Cunningham averaging 5.5 points per contest. Having eight players averaging more than 5.5 points per game is a luxury and indicative of the teamwork that Brown stresses.
Defensively, the balance is also evident, as 10 players average more than two rebounds per game.
A statistic that really jumps out at me is Moore’s 60 percent three-point shooting percentage. He has hit an astounding 30-of-50 shots from beyond the arc. He ranks 10th in the country in three-point shooting percentage and is tied for seventh in made three point field goals. Here’s a fun fact: East Carolina’s Akeem Richmond has attempted 102 three-pointers so far this season, and has made 41 of them. His 102 attempts from the outside have come in only nine games.
I’m very interested to see how this SMU team stacks up against the rest of the AAC. Before they begin conference play at Cincinnati on New Years Day, they will play host to Hofstra and Texas-Pan American before traveling to Wyoming. Going into conference play at an 11-2 mark will give them the confidence they need to surprise some teams projected to finish at the top of the AAC.