Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why SMU Won’t Make the Big Dance
SMU Will Not Make the Big Dance
Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs are enjoying a breakout season in only Brown’s second year as coach. They are currently ranked in the top 25, and are projected to be somewhere around a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament by most bracketologists. I do not disagree, and I do believe SMU will be in the Big Dance come March, mostly due to the fact they have Larry Brown on the bench. But, the Mustangs still have a few big games left, and could stumble to the finish line.
SMU has already proven it has the potential to lose to subpar teams, shown again in today’s loss against Temple. Another loss or two down the stretch to teams in the lower half of the AAC could spell disaster for the Mustangs. Teams projected in the eight to nine seed range at this point in the season can quickly fall out of the tournament come selection time due to bad losses at the end of the season (see Iowa last year). Plus, there will always be other teams across the country that will get hot at the right time and play their way into the Big Dance. Taking a spot that was at one time reserved for a team like SMU.
Resumes for teams like the Mustangs will also become extremely important. Items like wins against the top 50 RPI, road victories against the top 50 and strength of schedule will be extremely important factors. So, let’s look at the top 5 reasons why the Mustangs won’t make the NCAA tournament, if they do in fact get left out.
Bad Road Losses
SMU has now lost two road games to teams outside the RPI top 150 to South Florida (No. 172) and Temple (No. 182). Both losses have been recent with the Temple Loss coming today. Bad losses look, well, bad. Not a good thing to have on your resume.
The SMU Mustangs are not very good on the glass. They rank 91st in the country in total rebounds, and rank 146th in offensive rebounding at 11.46 per game. You have to rebound to win on the road in conference play, and the Mustangs have two games vs. the top 25 on the road remaining on their schedule (Memphis and Connecticut).
Strength of Schedule
The RPI currently ranks the SMU schedule as the 135th toughest schedule in the country. Not very tough, huh? Its toughest non-conference game was against Virginia, and it lost.
No Star Power
Quick can you name a player in the SMU starting five? Having a hard time? Don’t worry you are not alone. SMU’s roster is full of names most have never heard of. They don’t have flash and pizzazz, and regardless of what anyone says, perception is important come Selection Sunday.
The Mustangs rank 129th in the country in points. Although, they shoot a high percentage, their problems scoring showed up today versus Temple. The lack of scoring will result in a few more losses, and those losses could keep them out of the tournament.