First, a fancy library. Now, a legit basketball program?
As Grandpa Bill Parcells says, it's not time to get out the anointing oil just yet. But first-year head coach Matt Doherty at least has the Mustangs headed in the right direction. The school broke ground earlier this month on a new $12 million basketball practice facility. Former NBA player George Lynch was recently added to the coaching staff. And, after last night's heart-stopping 64-62 victory over TCU in Fort Worth, the Mustangs are off to a 9-1 start.
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Now, a soft early-season schedule highlighted only by wins over the likes of Paul Quinn, Prairie View A&M and Centenary isn't enough to pencil SMU into the March Madness field of 64 just yet, but beating the Frogs on the road is what the bracketologists call a "quality win." It was also what us sportswriters call a "miracle." Dez Willingham, a reserve who had made only seven shots in SMU's first nine games, made a leaning 3-pointer at the buzzer. Through 10 games Doherty's bunch has only one blemish, a road loss to Florida State. We'll see just how legit the Ponies are next Thursday when they travel to play Top 25-ranked Oklahoma in Norman. Regardless, seems last year's 13-16 will soon be just an ugly memory. If it isn't already. --Richie Whitt