SMU Basketball = March Badness
In Matt Doherty's first season as SMU basketball coach back in 2006-07, the Mustangs started 9-1. A victory at Oklahoma would've likely propelled the Ponies into the Top 25. Instead, SMU was humbled in Norman by 27 points, and it's been all drastically downhill since.
The latest defeat - to Houston last night in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament - caps another dismal season and commences another March Madness where the Hilltop hoopsters are nowhere close to anyone's bracket.
Doherty, a former National Coach of the Year at North Carolina, was supposed to revive a program dormant since the days of Jon Koncak and Carl Wright in the mid-'80s. But the progress has been slow, if not stagnant.
Since that initial 9-1 start, SMU has gone 24-57. This year's team finished 9-21, 0-12 on the road and by my count had only four legit wins - Tulane, Rice, Southern Mississippi and Colorado - though all had losing records. SMU's RPI is 265 (out of 343 teams), behind powerhouse programs such as Quinnipiac, Coppin State, Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian.
Despite a financial investment/upgrade in coaches and practice facilities, SMU basketball remains well behind local teams North Texas and UTA, who have each been to the NCAA Tournament this decade. SMU's last appearance came in 1993, as a representative of the Southwest Conference.
Oh, there are small signs of life.
SMU's scoring margin improved four points this season. Ten of Doherty's players are freshmen or sophomores including leading scorer, point guard Paul McCoy. And Doherty has one of the country's best coaching blogs in.
But last night they fell behind 14-2 and never got closer than six. I would give you more details, but SMU is so irrelevant these days that the game wasn't even on TV.