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SMU lost to TCU in Saturdays Iron Skillet game 34-17. Next years matchup is the last scheduled game in the longstanding rivalry.
SMU falls short at TCU
September 26, 2023

Men’s basketball: No. 18 SMU eyes perfection at home for 2013-14 season

The SMU men’s basketball team’s rise to their No. 18 ranking has been well documented and there’s no doubt that the campus is buzzing, but Moody Madness may reach a new level today as SMU takes on No. 11 ranked and defending national champion Louisville at 6 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.

The home game and upset over then No. 7 ranked Cincinnati earlier this season had a lot of hype, but nothing will compare to the deafening decibel levels that will likely be reached at some points today.

SMU head coach Larry Brown has issued a challenge to students after the team’s win over UCF for today.

“We’re not going to be able to hang with Louisville unless we have a better crowd than we had with Cincinnati, and I didn’t think that was possible. But we’ll see,”
Brown said.

While the crowd might be able to at least equal the noise from the Cincinnati game, SMU may have a tougher task at hand with the defending champs coming in.

Louisville Head Coach and Hall of Famer Rick Pitino has said this year’s offense may be better than the one that won a national championship and a big reason is guard Russ Smith. Smith is averaging 17.8 points, 4.5 assists and two steals per game this season.

For SMU, the team will rely on senior Nick Russell, who is one of two seniors being honored before the game along with Shawn Williams.

“You’re not going to stop Russ Smith but Nick Russell has been one of the best defenders in the country,” said Brown in an interview with CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein. “On a regular basis, he’s guarding Sean Kilpatrick, Shabazz Napier, Russ Smith, and the kids at Temple on the perimeter are really underrated. Nick’s done an unbelievable job all season long.”

With 10 different players averaging at least 12 minutes a game, SMU has a deep enough roster to hang with Louisville. The Mustangs were down 12 at the half earlier this season, but won the second half by four points.

SMU had 16 turnovers against the Cardinals and were in foul trouble in the game earlier this year, with Markus Kennedy fouling out. SMU did outrebound the Cardinals 48-38, something the team will have to do once again.

The last time Moody Coliseum hosted two top-20 teams was Feb. 16, 1985 when then No. 4 SMU beat the Louisville Cardinals, 72-64.

Last time SMU faced the Cardinals though, Luke Hancock scored a career-high 23 points, who the team will have to stop from getting hot again.

Granted, SMU has progressed a lot since their first game against the Cardinals, but Williams wouldn’t say the team was awestruck back then.

“We’re peaking right now, we’re a totally different team. We know how to win, how to close out games,” Williams said. “We’ve won some big games that have prepared us for this game, so we fear no one.”

If SMU wants to polish off their undefeated record at home, the team will have to finish and will have to make free throws when they get to the line, something the team has struggled with some of the season.

Most importantly though, as Brown puts it, “It’d be nice if we could defend and rebound too.”

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT at Moody and the game will be featured on CBS Sports Network. It’s the seventh sellout of the season for Moody and SMU is asking that everyone wear white and will help by giving out a white Moody Magic T-shirt to every fan in attendance.

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