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SMU Basketball Will Still Compete Without Top Prospect Emmanuel Mudiay





The SMU Mustangs should have made the 2014 NCAA tournament, but they had a great outing in the NIT regardless. Larry Brown‘s team was expected to compete for an AAC title in the upcoming season, but Emmanuel Mudiay reportedly heading overseas hurts the Mustangs’ hopes of doing so. Still, the team will compete without their top prospect.

The Mustangs were considered by many to be a top 25 team for the 2014-15 college basketball season. Losing a player of Mudiay’s talent seriously hurts that, but there are some key pieces coming back. That includes the top two leading scorers from last year’s team.

The AAC will look much different. Connecticut loses its two best players, Cincinnati loses leading scorer Sean Kilpatrick, Memphis loses some seniors and the conference, as a whole, loses Louisville. That should make the AAC less competitive, which could be looked at as a good thing for SMU.

The Huskies will probably be predicted to take home the regular season conference title, but the Mustangs really do bring back some talented players. May I remind you that this team was ranked during the 2013-14 season.

SMU could still realistically defend for an AAC title and make the 2015 NCAA tournament, but who knows what this team is capable of doing beyond that.

Hopefully SMU will not be overlooked this time around since it really did deserve to make the dance. Having a player with as much hype as Mudiay would have given the Mustangs some much-needed national attention, but the team will have to move on without him.

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry 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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