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NCAA Basketball

SMU Basketball Could Be The Ultimate Cinderella This March

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SMU Basketball, NCAA, March Madness

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA basketball tournament is only a couple of weeks away, and college basketball fans are preparing to fill out their brackets. One of the keys to filling out a successful bracket is to be able to correctly predict who will be this year’s Cinderella story. In past years, it has been Davidson, George Mason and Butler. Last season had two tournament darlings — Florida Gulf Coast and Wichita State.

Who will be that team this March? It might just be the SMU Mustangs.

Some fans may not know much about SMU, but they should start paying attention. The Mustangs are currently 23-6. They are already a lock for the tournament and are now just playing for a higher seed. Some might assume that SMU has a high win total because they have not played good teams, but that is not the case at all. SMU plays in the AAC, which currently has five teams ranked in the top 25. They won against Memphis, Cincinnati and Connecticut twice, and barely lost to Louisville.

SMU has dominated on its home court. The Mustangs are currently 15-0 at home and will play their final home game tonight against 11th=ranked Louisville. I think SMU will defeat Louisville, completing their perfect home record.

In order to understand what an amazing story this year’s Mustangs have, you must first understand their past. They have not made it to the “big dance” since 1993, and they have not won a tournament game since 1988. They were irrelevant for two decades. Then, in April of 2012, the school made a bold move. They hired Hall-of-Fame basketball coach Larry Brown and everything changed.

Thanks to great recruiting by Brown, SMU is school that other schools will not want to see in the tournament. To make the potential Cinderella story even better, the Final Four this year will be held in Arlington, Texas — just 20 miles from Dallas where the SMU campus is.

When fans go to fill out their brackets, their first instinct might be to overlook a team like SMU, but that would be a big mistake. I am not here to guarantee that the Mustangs will be this year’s Cinderella. What I do know is that there will be a Cinderella, and the way this season has gone for this team, I do not see why the Mustangs cannot be this year’s tournament darling.

Jeremy Martin is a Dallas Cowboys writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @Jmartin1982 “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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