Prince Peruna

Knocked off his high horse, Matt Doherty tries to whip SMU back into the race

The loss, witnessed by fewer fans than a Texas Rangers spring training game in Arizona, gave SMU defeats in 34 of its last 35 games against ranked teams. The Mustangs haven't beaten a Top 5 team since '85. Most sobering, with a loss in Wednesday's first-round Conference USA Tournament game, they will finish 14-17, no better than last year under Tubbs.

"We've taken steps as far as developing a culture and laying a foundation," Doherty says. "But I'm disappointed it hasn't resulted in more wins."

Says Orsini, "I knew it wouldn't be a quick fix, but I expect to make improvement each year."

Despite the initial failure, Doherty remains positive about the future. About an incoming recruiting class ranked 25th by national publications. About Moody's new $900,000 scoreboard. About new marketing director Richard Sweet, who came back to his alma mater from Southwest Airlines. And, if all else fails, by the military medallion jingling in his right pocket.

Given to him by a friend in the armed forces, it calms him when his temper wants to go off crazier than Bobby Knight or when his ENTJ wants to go out and conquer everything, every day, right this second.

"Life's pretty good," Doherty says with a shrug, showing off his piece of copper and peace of mind. "Could be in Afghanistan, getting shot at."

Or playing in Moody Coliseum without that big hole being dug outside.

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