SMU Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Capsule


SMU Mustangs

American (30-4, 17-1)

After being ineligible for the NCAA tournament last year, SMU looks to return to the dance and avenge their heart-breaking loss to UCLA in the first round two years ago. The Mustangs had a sluggish start to the season as they got off to just a 4-3 start with a loss to Michigan in the 2K Classic and road losses to USC and Boise State. However, since November SMU’s only regular season loss came against Cincinnati on the road. SMU doesn’t have a long list of quality wins, mostly because the American Athletic Conference has been relatively weak this year, but they did defeat Cincinnati at home.
Big Wins: 11/17 vs Pittsburgh (76-67), 2/12 Cincinnati (60-51), 2/18 at Houston (76-66)
Bad Losses: 11/18 vs Michigan (54-76), 11/25 at USC (73-78), 11/30 at Boise State (62-71)
Coach: Tim Jankovich
Why They Can Surprise:
SMU’s biggest strengths are its defense and rebounding ability. The Mustangs only give up 59.4 points per game and opponents shoot just 38.5 percent from the field against them. The old saying is defense wins championships and SMU certainly has the defensive presence to frustrate opponents and make a run in the tournament. In their best regular season win against Cincinnati in February, SMU allowed only 51 points and held them to 35 percent shooting from the floor. SMU also dominates the competition on the glass, as they grab almost 40 percent of their offensive misses and total 37.6 rebounds per game. On offense, SMU is a dangerous three-point shooting team, as they hit 40.3 percent of their shots from deep this year. Four of their starters shoot north of 40 percent from downtown.
Why They Can Disappoint:
SMU has a very thin rotation as normally only six guys will see the floor for the Mustangs each game. Four of their starters average 30-plus minutes per game and they could be fatigued playing at the challenging level of the NCAA tournament. SMU is also lacking a true point guard, which is important to have come March. Shake Milton, a 6-6 sophomore, mans the point position most often, but he isn’t a true point guard. Even though the six players in the rotation have solid experience – two seniors, two juniors and two sophomores – there isn’t much tournament experience from this group. SMU was questionably snubbed from the tournament in 2014, lost in the first round as a 6-seed to UCLA in 2015 and was ineligible for the postseason in 2016. Mixing that with the fact that the AAC wasn’t a very strong conference this year, it’s probably fair to question how ready SMU will be for the competition of the big dance.
Probable Starters:
Shake Milton, Sophomore, Guard, 13.0 ppg, 4.6 apg, 4.1 rpg
Jarrey Foster, Sophomore, Guard, 9.9 ppg, 2.1 apg, 5.3 rpg
Sterling Brown, Senior, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 3.0 apg, 6.4 rpg
Semi Ojeleye, Junior, Forward, 18.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Ben Moore, Senior, Forward, 11.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 bpg
Key Role Players:
Ben Emelogu, Junior, Guard, 4.5 ppg, 1.9 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.6 (148th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.4 (3, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (53, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.5 (8, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (103, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.3 (13, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (203, 6)
Rebound Margin: 9.8 (3, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.5 (23, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.7 (21, 3)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NCAA Round of 64 loss to UCLA
2014    NIT      First Round win over UC Irvine
2014    NIT      Second Round win over LSU
2014    NIT      Quarterfinal win over California
2014    NIT      Semifinal win over Clemson
2014    NIT      Final loss to Minnesota
2011    CIT      First Round win over Oral Roberts
2011    CIT      Second Round Jacksonville
2011    CIT      Quarterfinal win over Northern Iowa
2011    CIT      Semifinal loss to Santa Clara
2000    NIT      First Round loss to Southwest Missouri State
1993    NCAA Round of 64 loss to BYU
1988    NCAA Round of 64 win over Notre Dame
1988    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Duke
1986    NIT      First Round loss to BYU
*all team stats through 3/5