The SMU Mustangs have come a long way considering we are no longer talking about whether or not they will make the NCAA tournament. No, that conversation is long over — they’ll be in. The question has become will they win a share of the AAC regular season title after today’s 70-55 victory over the Central Florida Knights.
Losses by both the Louisville Cardinals and Cincinnati Bearcats combined with the Mustang win today has moved SMU to one game back of both for first place in the AAC. Larry Brown’s team smothered the Knights into 37.5 percent shooting from the field and 21.1 percent shooting from the three-point line.
Earlier today on ESPN’s Gameday, Digger Phelps and the crew were going through the candidates for Coach of the Year. Somehow they failed to mention Larry Brown.
Gregg Marshall of Wichita State will probably win the award, and if he does, it will be well deserved. But, the job Brown has done in only his second year at SMU has to put him in the running. He’s taken the Mustangs from afterthought to the top 25, and he’s done it without any star players. While everyone knew Wichita State would have a good year, the Mustangs have come out of nowhere and have to be the surprise of the basketball season.
The Mustangs close out the season at home against Louisville on Wednesday and on the road against the Memphis Tigers next Saturday. A win over Louisville and some help by the Tigers against Cincinnati on Thursday would move the Mustangs into a tie for first place in the AAC. If that happens, Brown should be the Coach of the Year.