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Bubble Watch: SMU Mustangs Deserve 2014 NCAA Tournament Berth

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Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The SMU Mustangs are a team that is considered to be in the 2014 NCAA tournament at the moment, but with an extremely difficult schedule to finish out the season in the AAC, they have to win against weaker conference teams. The Mustangs got it done against the Houston Cougars and took one step towards sealing their place in the Big Dance.

Nic Moore was the only player for SMU that scored in double-digits with 16, compared to 15-point performances from the Cougars’ Danuel House and TaShawn Thomas and a 16-point performance from Jherrod Stingers. However, the Mustangs got a combined 31 points from their bench en route to a 68-64 win over Houston.

When you look at the Mustangs’ resume, their biggest wins are in the conference. The best non-conference teams that they have played, the Virginia Cavaliers and Arkansas Razorbacks, were both losses, which will hinder their tournament chances. However, marquee wins over the Connecticut Huskies, Memphis Tigers and Cincinnati Bearcats are nothing to scoff at and will definitely improve their chances on Selection Sunday.

At 21-6, SMU deserves to make the 2014 NCAA tournament. They still face Connecticut, the Louisville Cardinals and Memphis to finish out the season, and should only need to win one of these games along with a home game against the UCF Knights to make it to the Big Dance. The Mustangs are a good team that could pull off a few upsets in the tournament, and it wouldn’t be March Madness without teams like them.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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NCAA Tournament Profile: SMU Mustangs

Record: 27-6

RPI: 13

BPI: 24

Conference: AAC Conference

How They Qualified: AAC Conference Tournament Champions

Region: No. 6 seed in South

Can you imagine how good the SMU Mustangs would have been with Emmanuel Mudiay on the team this year? Just in case you are out of the loop, Mudiay should go in the top five in the upcoming draft. Even without him, the Mustangs have put together a solid resume. Most importantly, and unlike last season, they are not being snubbed to the max when it comes to making the NCAA tournament.

The Mustangs haven’t had the toughest schedule, but they did challenge themselves some by playing the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Indiana Hoosiers, Arkansas Razorbacks and Michigan Wolverines in their out-of-conference schedule. It’s games like those that help prepare a team for the tourney.

 

What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: Nic Moore (14.3 PPG)

Leading Rebounder: Yanick Moreira (6.4 RPG)

Leading Passer: Nic Moore (5.3 APG)

Bad Losses: None

Good Wins: Tulsa (twice), Temple (x3)

 

This team may be lacking in star power, but none of that matters in the tournament. Heck, the Duke Blue Devils had one of the biggest stars in college basketball last year (Jabari Parker), and they ended up going down to the Mercer Bears right away. I don’t remember Doug McDermott leading his team to a title last year either.

No offense to those players, but the NCAA tournament does not reward teams just because they are well-known and have — you guessed it — star power.

Larry Brown is the head coach, so I guess there is one star for ya. All that aside, Moore and the other three guys who are averaging 10+ points per game have to show up. Entering the season with a decent amount of hype, SMU isn’t necessarily a dark horse pick, but at the same time, not many people are expecting a Final Four run by Brown’s team.

Let’s remember that the Mustangs have only lost six games in 2014-15.

The SMU Mustangs are dancing!

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

The SMU Mustangs may have been snubbed out of last year's dance, but no one should lose focus of them this time around.

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