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UCLA vs SMU: SMU's Season

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To begin previewing UCLA's opening round opponent, we will take a look back at SMU's season and examine how they have done against top level competition.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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

Date Opponent RPI BPI Pomeroy W/L Score
11/14/2014 Lamar 230 267 245 W 93-54
11/17/2014 AT Gonzaga 8 5 6 L 56-72
11/20/2014 AT Indiana 60 46 53 L 68-74
11/22/2014 Eastern Washington 75 137 136 W 77-68
11/25/2014 Arkansas 19 21 29 L 72-78
11/26/2014 Texas Southern 121 211 207 W 72-59
11/30/2014 Monmouth 176 187 183 W 63-51
12/5/2014 Wyoming 72 102 102 W 66-53
12/8/2014 UC Santa Barbara 87 103 110 W (OT) 80-73
12/17/2014 Illinois-Chicago 297 289 275 W 67-46
12/20/2014 AT Michigan 81 74 77 W 62-51
12/29/2014 Midwestern State NR NR NR W 70-61
12/31/2014 South Florida 273 263 287 W 83-49
1/3/2015 AT Cincinnati 37 45 34 L 50-56
1/8/2015 Memphis 83 91 85 W 73-59
1/11/2015 AT Central Florida 257 248 280 W 70-61
1/14/2015 AT Temple 34 66 56 W 60-55
1/17/2015 East Carolina 219 219 220 W 77-54
1/21/2015 AT Tulane 214 198 230 W 66-52
1/24/2015 Houston 239 215 215 W 80-59
1/28/2015 AT South Florida 273 263 287 W 63-52
1/31/2015 Central Florida 257 248 280 W 75-56
2/5/2015 Cincinnati 37 45 34 L 54-62
2/7/2015 AT Tulsa 45 80 72 W 68-57
2/12/2015 AT Houston 239 215 215 W 75-69
2/14/2015 Connecticut 74 63 59 W 73-55
2/19/2015 Temple 34 66 56 W 67-58
2/26/2015 AT Memphis 83 91 85 W 66-57
3/1/2015 AT Connecticut 74 63 59 L 73-81
3/8/2015 Tulsa 45 80 72 W 67-62
3/13/2015 East Carolina* 219 219 220 W 74-68
3/14/2015 Temple* 34 66 56 W 69-56
3/15/2015 Connecticut* 74 63 59 W

62-54

End of Season Rankings

RPI: 12

vs Top 25: 0-2

vs Top 50: 5-4

BPI: 24

vs Top 25: 0-2

vs Top 50: 0-5

Ken Pom: 19

vs Top25: 0-1

vs Top 50: 0-2

The Breakdown

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?

Go Bruins