SMU Men's Basketball 2014 NIT Tournament Capsule

SMU Mustangs
American (23-9, 12-6)


With a top 25 ranking, a sweep of the perennially-good UConn Huskies, a finish amongst the elite of the AAC and an incoming freshman recruit who ranks as one of the very best in the entire country, head coach Larry Brown has certainly turned the Southern Methodist basketball program around rather quickly. Twenty plus wins overall and double-digit conference victories come just one year removed from a 15-17 season for the Mustangs.

Big Wins: 1/4 Connecticut (74-65), 2/8 Cincinnati (76-55), 2/23 at Connecticut (64-55)
Bad Losses: 11/18 at Arkansas (78-89), 1/28 at South Florida (71-78), 2/16 at Temple (64-71)
Coach: Larry Brown (2 seasons at SMU)

Why They Can Surprise:
Nic Moore is a very good passer and, more importantly, shooter. He didn't quite make the fabled 50-40-90 club (FG%, 3-pt%, FT%), but he finished just a notch below that threshold. Markus Kennedy is a very good rebounder, shot-blocker and, more importantly, shooter. Finishing second on the team in scoring, Kennedy converted well over 50 percent of his shots from the floor. Yanick Moreira, in limited minutes early in the year, was a very efficient scorer, as is Ben Moore and Shawn Williams, etc. What all this combines to mean is SMU is one of the best shooting teams in the nation, as they convert nearly 50 percent of their shots as a team. It's a staggering figure that is only more impressive considering their field-goal percentage defense ranking has even fewer peers. Larry Brown has this team doing many things very well. They share the basketball, rebound, create turnovers and do all the things that less talented teams need to do to win basketball games. Once Brown actually gets a few top recruits in here, opponents better watch out.

Why They Can Disappoint:
With a solid combination of young players and upperclassmen, Larry Brown rotates and substitutes up to ten guys on any given night. However, that rotation plays more like a young team than an experienced one. SMU is great at home; in fact they went 15-1 and didn't lose a single home game until their final one of the season. On the road though, this team has been much shakier, losing to the likes of USF and Temple. Without road losses to some of the conference's bottom-feeders, the Mustangs could have challenged for the AAC title. Perhaps coming up short in road environments has something to do with their poor foul shooting and lack of explosion from three, because while SMU shoots great from the floor, that figure is mostly two-point field goals.

Probable Starters:
Nic Moore, Sophomore, Guard, 13.7 ppg, 4.8 apg
Nick Russell, Senior, Guard, 9.6 ppg, 3.3 apg
Sterling Brown, Freshman, Guard, 4.3 ppg, 1.0 apg
Shawn Williams, Senior, Forward, 4.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Markus Kennedy, Sophomore, Forward, 12.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Ryan Manuel, Junior, Guard, 4.9 ppg
Yanick Moreira, Junior, Center, 6.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Keith Frazier, Freshman, Guard, 5.5 ppg
Ben Moore, Freshman, Forward, 6.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Cannen Cunningham, Junior, Center, 5.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.6 (165th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.1 (20, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.0 (12, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.5 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (325, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: n/a
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (224, 5)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (35, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (38, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.8 (293, 10)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
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 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules