Could SMU Basketball Make Strides Under Larry Brown?

Coach Larry Brown is a living legend, and even in the twilight of his long career, hiring him was a huge coup for Southern Methodist University. The Mustangs basketball profile has never been very high, and once there was the promise of entering challenging basketball league (the Big East, at the time), they needed a man with name recognition to carry them into the transition.

larry-brown-at-smu

But as realignment unraveled, basketball powers left the league, and Larry Brown vocalized his concern for the newly-formed American, the question remains: is Larry Brown going to turn SMU basketball into a winner?

To be honest, you have to wonder what’s in it for him at this point. Even for a career NBA coach, the promise of coaching in the former Big East must have been a compelling idea. But for someone of his stature and age to enthusiastically continue coaching in a lower-profile (at least for the time being) conference is a lot to ask for. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, however.

He’s recruited well so far, and that’s a huge plus for a program that hasn’t made the big dance since 1993. Local Dallas recruit Keith Frazier was listed 49th in the ESPN 100 recruits, and chose SMU over a pair of in-state Big 12 programs. And you have to imagine the returners are going to improve upon another year in the Larry Brown system. So while it’s hard to imagine a team that was 15-17 last season getting a bid this upcoming year, it could certainly happen down the road.

Maybe Larry Brown will stick around long enough for this program to be successful. Maybe he’ll bail after another year or two and ride off into the sunset of retirement. The fact that he’s kept SMU basketball in the headlines at all means he was probably a good hire.

Anyone want to weigh in on this? Thoughts on Larry winning at SMU? Let me know below!

Image Credit: SMU

First Thought: UCF’s New Basketball Court

Central Florida rolled out its new court today and, I have to say, I kinda love it. It’s not hard on the eyes and it’s undeniably distinct. The “blacktop” is really more of a transparent gray and the whole floor has a very bold look to it. ucfcourt It’s nice to see some standout playing surfaces in this league, especially when those games are all over television. And even if this came out terribly, you have to appreciate the homerun swing the folks at UCF took with this. It could have very well been a disaster.

Image Credit: CBS Sports

Memphis Named New Men’s Tournament Home

So, Memphis it is. The FedEx Forum. It’s not the Garden. But playing at Madison Square Garden with this group of teams wouldn’t feel right anyway.
FedEx Forum

On the surface, this is a great place to host the tournament; it’s geographically accessible to all the teams’ fan bases and it’s a large arena that seats more than 18,000 fans. As a city, Memphis certainly provides enough entertainment and accommodations (again, no New York), so it should be a solid first year.

I’d be curious to see what kind of fan support the Florida and Texas schools can draw for the event. We already know the fans will be overwhelmingly Memphis Tiger’s. Hopefully there’s just a little balance.

I know the defending national champion Cardinals are going to be a big draw, but I really wish we could skip forward a year so we don’t have to wonder about the conference that could have been if they stayed.

Regardless, they’ve certainly nailed down the best possible venue for a men’s tournament, and that’s a great step in the right direction.

Image Credit: Revontheradio