SMU's Brown returns to the Big Dance
Larry Brown discovered something about his new iPhone when Southern Methodist finally ended its two-decade NCAA tournament drought. "I didn't realize how many text messages it would accept, so that kept me kind of busy," the 74-year-old Hall of Fame coach said.
Larry Brown discovered something about his new iPhone when Southern Methodist finally ended its two-decade NCAA tournament drought.
"I didn't realize how many text messages it would accept, so that kept me kind of busy," the 74-year-old Hall of Fame coach said.
While the Mustangs are back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993, Brown returns to the Big Dance for the first time since leading Kansas to a national title 27 years ago.
"I hope it's like it was in '88," the former 76ers coach said before quickly trying to divert the attention to the SMU players, who weren't even born then.
The Mustangs were left out last season after a loss in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals.
Winning the regular-season and tournament titles this year, the Mustangs (27-6) are the No. 6 seed in the South Regional. They play Thursday in Louisville, Ky., against UCLA (20-13), a team that some believe is not worthy of an NCAA bid.
Five other tournament schools have the same number of losses as coach Steve Alford's UCLA. And the 11th-seeded Bruins have won 12 of their last 18 since a five-game midseason slide in the Pacific 12 Conference.
"This team is taking it as a little bit of fuel to their fire and more motivation," said Norman Powell, the Bruins' leading scorer at 16.4 points per game.
Alabama-Birmingham vs. Iowa State. In Louisville, the 14th-seeded Cyclones (19-15) will try to break the comeback trend. They have trailed by double digits at some point of their last five games, including being 17 down to Kansas in the second half of the Big 12 tournament final.
Blazers coach Jerod Haase, as a Kansas player, used to guard Fred Hoiberg, coach of No. 3 seed Iowa State (25-8).
Stephen F. Austin
vs. Utah. In Portland, Ore., the fifth-seeded Utes (24-8) enter the tournament having lost three of five, including a Pac-12 semifinal. But in Delon Wright, they have one of the nation's most unheralded players. SFA won the Southland Conference regular-season and tournament titles. The 12th-seeded Lumberjacks (29-4), coached by Brad Underwood, won as a No. 12 seed last year over VCU.
Eastern Washington vs. Georgetown. At No. 4, the Hoyas (21-10) are the better seed but didn't get the geographical consideration. The 13th-seeded Eagles did. Eastern Washington (26-8) won the Big Sky tournament by beating Montana on the Grizzlies' home floor. Guard Tyler Harvey, who averages 22.9 points, for the Eagles, ranks among the nation's leading scorers. Georgetown lost in the Big East semifinals to Xavier.