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Keep an eye on SMU this season


DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 8: Head coach Larry Brown of the SMU Mustangs has words with an official during action against the TCU Horned Frogs during the Tip-Off Showcase on November 8, 2013 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Cooper Neill

Rhode Island took a trip down to Dallas to take on Larry Brown’s revamped SMU squad on Monday night, and it was a match-up that had “intriguing” written all over it.

Both the Mustangs and the Rams brought in a number of high profile recruits this season. Both programs also had a number of transfers that were sitting out become elligible. As a result, you saw both teams become trendy sleeper picks in the American and the Atlantic 10, respectively.

So what happened when they took the court?

SMU poleaxed URI. The final score? 89-58, and that still doesn’t really do the whipping justice. The game was unwatchable by the second half’s first TV timeout.

There’s a lot to like about this Mustang team. They are deep and they are talented at every position. Illinois State transfer Nic Moore has been a revelation at the point; he had 20 points and seven assists on Monday night. We heard plenty about Yannick Moreira, Shawn Williams and Markus Kennedy during the preseason, but how about Ben Moore? The athletic, 6-foot-8 forward had 13 points, nine boards, three assists and two steals against the Rams. Keith Frazier, the McDonald’s All-American that Brown landed this season, has played a grand total of 35 minutes in two games, providing 18 points off the bench during SMU’s 2-0 start.

Let’s keep all of this in perspective. SMU now has wins over TCU and URI, two teams that combined for 19 wins last season. That’s not exactly going to vault them into the top 25.

But all you have to do is watch this team play and you’ll start to believe what Larry Brown is selling.

Don’t be surprised if the Mustangs are a factor in the American this season.

Follow @robdauster