Now that we got that out of the way, who else is ready to take this season out behind the barn and shoot it?
With this loss, SMU (21-4, 9-4) falls into a three way tie for second place (without considering the result of Cincinnati vs Tulsa).
Temple (16-9, 10-3) is sitting on top of the conference, but with just five games left for SMU, and considering how the Mustangs have played over the past month, I don’t see a regular season championship happening.
Here are two big reasons why: two of those five remaining games are against UConn and Cincinnati.
SMU has East Carolina, Memphis, and Tulane before getting a rematch against the Huskies at Moody.
Then the Mustangs end their season on the road against Cincy—they narrowly defeated the Bearcats 59-57 and that was at Moody.
Now, SMU should—emphasis on should—win the next three games, but as of late I’m not really sure what to expect from this team.
It certainly doesn’t help that opponents bring it every time they face the Mustangs and that SMU isn’t necessarily equipped to take everyone’s best shot.
Thursday night is a really good example. SMU had no answer for Amida Brimah. His 16 points were a game-high and his eight rebounds led the Huskies. But perhaps most importantly, he blocked five shots.
When the game was on the line and SMU was within striking distance, it tried to do the smart thing and push for higher-percentage looks…but Brimah wasn’t having it.
Daniel Hamilton added in 14 points and six boards, while Shonn Miller has 12 points and seven rebounds.
And speaking of rebounds, SMU only out rebounded UConn 35-33 and even though that edge comes from two more offensive rebounds, the Mustangs struggled to get second chance points.
UConn however, took advantage of its 10 offensive rebounds and got 12 second chance points, compared to SMU’s five.
The Huskies also had 12 points off SMU’s 10 turnovers.
I suppose what is hardest to swallow about this loss is that it wasn’t for lack of trying.
For the 20th time this season, SMU had four players score in double-figures; Shake Milton (11), Nic Moore (14), Sterling Brown (11), Ben Moore (13).
And how about that game from Ben? Twelve rebounds to go with his 13 points.
With all the defensive attention Nic got, Ben certainly stepped up in a big way—so did Sterling and Shake who each had three 3-pointers.
But my goodness…where on earth was Markus Kennedy?
He finished Thursday with just two points and was 1-7 from the floor. Honestly, Kennedy has been largely underwhelming this season and that is incredibly disappointing.
In spirit of this column, Upon Further Review, I think it might actually be too soon to old yeller this season.
There are five games left and SMU isn’t out of the race quite yet—they just have to want the regular season crown more than anyone else.
And if it makes anyone feel any better, Thursday was just the second out of seven games that UConn has won.