Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 23-9 overall, 12-6 in AAC regular season (third place)
Record in Last 12 Games: 7-5
Last Game / Next Game: Houston (L 68-64) / None
RPI / KP: 55 / 32
Best Wins: Cincinnati 76-55, at Connecticut 64-55, Connecticut 74-65
Worst Losses: at South Florida 78-71, at Temple 71-64, at Arkansas 89-78
The Good News: The Mustangs have four RPI top-50 wins, including a season sweep of Connecticut. Of their nine losses, six have come against the RPI top 75.
The Bad News: They have three dreadful losses, and their best nonconference win came against Wyoming. Of their 23 wins, 19 have come against teams outside the RPI top 125.
Blueprint for an NCAA Bid:
A few weeks ago, the Mustangs were considered a stone-cold lock for the tournament.
I'm not so sure most people have truly inspected their resume since.
After losing to Houston in the AAC quarterfinals, the Mustangs are now 4-6 vs. RPI top-100 teams with three other losses to considerably less talented teams.
Ending the regular season with losses to Louisville and Memphis didn't hurt SMU's case, but it did keep the Mustangs in position to be in danger if they lost to a team in the bottom half of the conference standings in the AAC tournament. Which they did.
Their RPI (55) and SOS (137) numbers are almost identical to those of Green Bay. Both the Phoenix and Mustangs had three losses to teams outside the RPI top 100—though SMU's losses are decidedly worse, and Green Bay's worst loss of the season came when one of their most important players (Alec Brown) was out with a shoulder injury.
SMU was 1-5 in road/neutral games against the RPI top 100, while Green Bay was 2-2. Green Bay played just four nonconference games against teams outside the RPI top 150; SMU played eight such games.
Last, but not least, SMU's top five nonconference games were against teams with the following RPI: 10, 68, 113, 135 and 145. Green Bay's list goes: 7, 10, 47, 72 and 86.
You might notice that both played team No. 10. Green Bay beat Virginia by three points, and SMU lost to Virginia by three points.
Prediction: It's going to be a photo finish, but we're projecting SMU as the first team on the outside of the field.