The Mustangs have been one of the surprise teams to enter and stay in the top 25 of college basketball this year, after having their season start with tough losses to unranked Michigan, USC, and Boise State. Since then they have gone on two separate 10 game winning streaks and have only lost a single game in between. With their second tournament appearance in the last 24 years, SMU will be looking to shock the world.
Southern Methodist boasts one of the toughest defenses in all of college basketball. They rank 3rd overall in opponents points per game, and excel in stopping offenses inside, ranking 16th in opponents 2 point percentage. If they go up against a team that likes to penetrate and score, SMU will successfully stop them
SMU also has some guys that can really shoot it from outside. Besides being two of the best names in college basketball, Semi Ojeleye and Shake Milton both have over 60 made threes on the season. The Mustangs as a team can pour it on from outside and rank 22nd in three point percentage on the season.
In SMU’s four losses this season, they have been killed by their opponents lighting it up at the three point line. In their losses against Cincy and USC, they gave up 12 long balls. In their loss against Michigan, they gave up 13. Any team that can shoot lights out from behind the arc (UCLA, Creighton) has a good chance at knocking out the Mustangs.
At times this season, Southern Methodist has struggled from the free throw line. In their loss against Boise State, the Mustangs were just 50% from the line (missed 11 free throws and lost by 9 points). The team ranks just 204th in season free throw percentage. This could be a deciding factor for close games in the tournament.
Photo Credit: SMU Athletics