On a freezing, 24-degree Dallas morning at 6 am, Southern Methodist University students lined up in front of the newly renovated Moody Coliseum awaiting just a small chance to gain tickets to the mustang basketball game. After waiting for two hours, students jumped for joy when they finally made it to the front of the stadium and received tickets. If you had asked any student several years ago about SMU basketball, they would be perplexed to even give a fact about the program.
Today, Southern Methodist University basketball has shattered the non-existent stereotype it forever held with its incredible 17-5 lead this season. The program has taken a turn for the best with its two secret weapons: head coach Larry Brown and the upgraded Moody Coliseum.
A hall of fame coach legend with two national championship wins under his belt from powerhouses UCLA and Kansas, Brown has never been more excited to take on SMU basketball. In an interview with ESPN, Brown explained how he’s undoubtedly taking the team to an NCAA championship. “I don’t see any reason we can’t,” said Brown to ESPN. “I think we can be special. I know it’s a challenge, but I believe everything’s in place. We’ve just got to do the job.” As a coach, Brown exudes confidence, experience and optimism, which is exactly the type of leader SMU has needed to take the team to the top. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s been on a famous winning streak since the start of his encounter with college and professional basketball.
To compliment the great coach, SMU of course had to build a new, state-of-the-art coliseum to accommodate the powerhouse. Unveiled on January 4, Moody Coliseum has had nothing but a positive impact on the SMU campus. With its fresh court, high definition monitors and 7,000 brand new seats, the renovations have reinvigorated the team and the fans for a triumphant season. The energy in the coliseum has even pushed football and boulevard-fanatic students to become dedicated basketball enthusiasts. Moody Coliseum brings a new heart and spirit to the school, which is an addition many are proud to be a part of.
Clearly a coach and a stadium can’t be the primary forced behind a win. The highly skilled and dedicated new players are ultimately the glue that holds the team together. Dallas native and Kimball phenomenon, mustang Keith Frazier has been a force to be reckoned with on the court. Not only is Frazier going to be a hall-of-fame star of SMU basketball, but Brown just got an official commitment from one of the top high school basketball players in the country, Emmanuel Mudiay, to play at SMU in the fall.
With the crucial upgrades to the SMU basketball program, the odds have been in the favor of the team this season. As the mustangs have moved up in the American Athletic Conference, the team has even shocked the nation with its televised wins over top national teams like UConn and Memphis. After 26 years without even a tournament game win, this season is somewhat of a miracle for the school.
The nation and basketball junkies definitely have all eyes on the rising underdog program at Southern Methodist University this 2014 season. The mustangs are unquestionably headed for the top and SMU has never been more enthusiastic to finally bring basketball pride to the hilltop.