The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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March Sadness: Mustangs denied spot in NCAA tournament

AAC Houston SMU Basketball
The Mustangs walk off the court after losing the American Athletic Conference Tournament against Houston. (Courtesy of AP)

With Moody Coliseum’s lower bowl half-filled, the band and cheerleaders performing and the CBS Sports Selection Sunday Show on Moody’s video board, the team, coaches and SMU fans looked on as the hosts rattled off the names of the teams heading to the Big Dance.

As they made their way through the regions, the tension built and the nervousness of the crowd replaced the optimism from earlier.

Even though the team didn’t get in, head coach Larry Brown was very honest about why.

“This team has talent, but the other teams had a lot more character,” Brown said. “The last two weeks we showed a lack of character in a lot of ways. We didn’t act right the last three games.”

Even though it was a slight disappointment, the team is expected to earn a National Invitation Tournament bid and that could mean home games in Moody Coliseum, but for now coach Brown says the team should be better for this.

“You recognize a mistake, you learn from it and move on and don’t do it again,” Brown said.

It is especially tough on the team’s two seniors, Shawn Williams and Nick Russell.

Both spoke to the team after learning their fate about wanting to finish the right way this season Brown told the media.

Student Body President Ramon Trespalacios was in full “lobster” costume as usual for the show, and couldn’t help but be disappointed.

“Definitely unexpected. We were expecting to be in the tournament, but now we’re just looking ahead learning from this season,” Trespalacios said. “It was a great season. I cannot thank the basketball team enough.”

“For our senior year being able to experience something like this was something I couldn’t even dream of. I’m happy for our whole season, but it’s a sad moment right now.”

Brown mentioned that once Louisville was seeded as a No. 4, he realized that the committee didn’t have a lot respect for the American Athletic Conference.

With four teams in the Top 25, not including SMU, that made the tournament, it was still a little surprising SMU wasn’t in.

Brown though, took the high road, not wanting to take away from the teams in the tournament and wants the team to learn from it.

“At the end of the day, it is what it is so I’m gonna do everything I can to get these kids and to realize it was on us and nobody else,” Brown said.

Even though the team didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, Trespalacios challenged the student body to support the team in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

“We need to win a championship, even if it’s the NIT or whatever it is I think we can do it,” Trespalacios said. “It’s just a way to get heated up for next season so I expect every student that has been to the games this season to be at those games.”

SMU was selected as a No. 1 seed for the NIT and will host UC-Irvine on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT in Moody Coliseum on ESPN2. UCI won the Big West regular season title and come into Moody with a 23-11 record. Tickets go on sale Monday morning at

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