Larry Brown's squad came into this season with high expectations, ranked 20th in the preseason AP Poll. This was the first time that SMU has opened a season in the poll since the 1984-1985 season. The Mustang's season ended in disappointing fashion last season as they were left out of the NCAA tournament in what many considered to be the year's biggest snub. After accepting an NIT invitation, SMU made a run to the title game, eventually falling to Clemson.
SMU's 2014-2015 Results
|12/8/2014||UC Santa Barbara||87||103||110||W (OT)||80-73|
|1/11/2015||AT Central Florida||257||248||280||W||70-61|
|1/28/2015||AT South Florida||273||263||287||W||63-52|
End of Season Rankings
vs Top 25: 0-2
vs Top 50: 5-4
vs Top 25: 0-2
vs Top 50: 0-5
Ken Pom: 19
vs Top25: 0-1
vs Top 50: 0-2
Despite having a very impressive looking RPI ranking, SMU has had limited success against the top schools this year. The 5 top 50 RPI wins came against 2 schools, neither of which made the NCAA tourney. The Mustangs feasted upon American Athletic Conference rivals Temple and Tulsa, both of whom are heading to NIT this season. Neither the BPI nor the Pomeroy rankings had either team in the Top 50.
On the other hand, SMU was able to consistently do one thing that eluded UCLA this season, beat the teams they should. The Mustangs have only lost one game to a team that is not tourney bound. That team was UConn, the defending National Champions. By consistently holding serve against the middle and bottom of the conference, SMU was able to drive up their RPI ranking, allowing them to secure a 6 seed, even while lacking a signature victory and playing in a league that forced them to play 9 games against teams with RPIs over 200.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway here is this: SMU has arguably not beat a team as good as UCLA this year. Both the BPI and Pomeroy rankings have UCLA ranked above both Temple and Tulsa. The RPI has both of those schools ranked above us, but the selection committee disagreed, sending them both to the NIT.
Chime in below with your thoughts. Is UCLA better than any team SMU has beaten? Does the consistent success against mid and lower level competition balance out the lack of any signature wins?