Matt Visinsky

Upon Further Review: SMU vs. Tulane

Demo has your Upon Further Review following SMU's win over Tulane yesterday.

It might not have been pretty, but at the end of the day a win is a win, is a win, is a win.

The pursuit of perfection continues and ultimately that is one of the most important things for this season. 

As long as SMU's undefeated streak continues, it remains in the national spotlight—especially since becoming the only undefeated team left in the country. 

If you think about it long enough, it’s the only way this team can be remembered for anything other than the sanctions. 

Should the pursuit of perfection fall short, the narrative in the history books will be about academic fraud and the Keith Frazier fallout. 

But win every game and all the negative storylines become examples of resiliency and a testament to the strength of this program. 

All of a sudden all the negatives get pushed down and become little more than hiccups on the way to SMU’s historic perfect season. 

Should the Mustangs win all the regular season games, they’d join a club of 28 teams that achieved perfection in the tournament era. 

However, they’d also belong to an even more exclusive club of four other teams that were undefeated, but did not participate in the NCAA tournament. 

In 1940 the Seton Hall Pirates went 19-0, but weren’t invited to the big tourney or the NIT.  

Keep in mind that at that time they were only the third Division I team to be perfect in the regular season. 

That was more than 50 years before I was even an idea in my parent’s heads…mostly because they weren’t born yet either.     

It was a long time ago.  

Back then the NIT was considered the “championship.”  

It was a weird time.

Anyway, four years after Seaton Hall, Army went 15-0 and they also weren’t invited to either tourney…it was during World War II though.  So…

Ten years after Army, Kentucky went 25-0, but turned down an NCAA tourney bid because it was ruled during the season that grad students couldn’t compete. 

Frank Ramsey, Cliff Haga, and Loy Tsioropoulus were three of the Wildcats’ best players and they were ineligible because of the rule.

This brings us to the 1973 NC State Wolfpack coached by Stormin’ Norman Sloan.  

They went 27-0, but they were unable to play in the postseason because of sanctions resulting from violations during the recruitment of star shooting guard/small forward David Thompson back in 1970.

Sound familiar? 

NC State would go on to win the NCAA Tourney in 1974, with players like Tom Burleson, Thompson, Monte Towe and Tim Stoddard.     

Between the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons, the Wolfpack lost just one game. 

The big difference between the 1973 Wolfpack and the 2015-16 Mustangs is that NC State’s bigger players still had one more season.

Nic Moore, Markus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert don’t. 

Knowing what we know right now, are we confident that a squad led by Ben Moore, Shake Milton, Sterling Brown can build on the momentum of this season?

Sure there are other pieces like Semi Ojeleye waiting for next year, but we know for certain what we are getting with those three players. 

Shake has been phenomenal for a freshman. Ben Moore’s game has taken a huge step forward this season and so has Brown’s. 

I mean, 70 percent shooting from the field and from 3-point range?!?! That’s ridiculous, Sterling. 

If those three get even better next season, and Larry Brown can put the right pieces around them...SMU could be dominant again in 2017. 

I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. 

As far as perfection, SMU still has 13 games to play. 

Anything can happen and it usually does.

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