3 Up, 3 Down: SMU vs. Minnesota

We share three positives and three negatives from SMU's loss in the NIT Championship.

3 Up

1.Big Offense. Against the Minnesota front court it was important for SMU's bigs to be active and they came through. SMU fed Markus Kennedy down low early and often and Shawn Williams was active on the offensive glass. He recorded 11 points before fouling out. Ben Moore was also made good decisions with the ball and was efficient while on the court.

2.Ball Movement. This might have been SMU's best game moving the ball all season. They only had 14 assists but the Mustangs kept the ball moving until they found the best possible shot. Even Phil Knight was commenting on SMU's passing throughout the broadcast. This is a preview of the show Emmanuel Mudiay will be bringing to Moody next season.

3.Nic and Nick. For one last time, Nic Moore and Nick Russell put on a show from the field together. They combined for 32 points on nine of 17 shooting. Russell grabbed six rebounds and Moore dished seven assists. This game marked the end of a great SMU backcourt. Soon there will be an even greater one.

3 Down

1.Second Chance Opportunities. SMU grabbed eight offensive rebounds, the majority of them in the first half, but failed numerous times to convert the second chance opportunities. Ben Moore and Cannen Cunningham in particular could not finish after getting the offensive board. You cannot win a championship game if you cannot take advantage of offensive boards.

2.Closing Out. SMU struggled down the stretch and did not match Minnesota's poise. Nic Moore and Russell missed free throws, Williams fouled out, and Russell and Ryan Manuel turned the ball over on multiple occasions in crunch time. SMU avoided these late lapses throughout the NIT but this time could not pull it off.

3.Goodbye Seniors. It is sad to see Shawn Williams and Nick Russell end their college careers on a down note but they had a great run together for SMU in their senior campaigns. Much luck and success to them in the future.

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