No. 23 SMU’s loss at Temple damages a resume that lacks quality road wins

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With home wins over UConn, Memphis and Cincinnati, No. 23 SMU has three quality wins that look good on their NCAA tournament resume. Based largely upon those results, Larry Brown’s Mustangs look to be well-positioned to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1993. However, results like Sunday’s 71-64 loss at Temple won’t do SMU any favors given the absence of a quality road victory.

Dalton Pepper led four Owls in double figures with 24 points, but with SMU limiting Temple to 39% shooting defense wasn’t the biggest issue for the Mustangs. The problem: foul shooting.

Despite making 48% of its shots from the field, SMU managed to shoot just 14-for-26 from the foul line and at one point in the second half missed six consecutive free throws. Leaving that many points on the board can prove costly in close games, and sure enough that was was the case for SMU.

Markus Kennedy, playing in his hometown, paced SMU with 18 points and he was one of three Mustangs to grab five rebounds on the afternoon. Rebounding was another area that proved problematic for SMU, with Temple managing to rebound nearly 36% of its missed shots. Entering Sunday the Owls ranked eighth in the American in offensive rebounding percentage (conference games only), and with leading rebounder Anthony Lee (8.9 rpg) sitting due to a nagging knee injury one would expect SMU to control the glass.

However that wasn’t the case, and the combination of poor foul shooting and rebounding proved to be too much for SMU to overcome. Losing at Temple certainly won’t look good on SMU’s resume, and this is a team that has just one RPI Top 100 win away from Dallas. That win: a 62-54 victory at Wyoming on December 20.

Of SMU’s final five games just two are away from home but they’re big opportunities, with No. 24 UConn (February 23) and No. 20 Memphis (March 8) being the opponents. And with No. 13 Louisville’s visit on March 5 being the only remaining home game of value (Houston and UCF are the other two), SMU may need one of those two road games in order to feel secure about its resume.

The three home wins against ranked teams will certainly help SMU when it comes to reaching the Field of 68. But given the lack quality results away from home, their spot isn’t as secure as some may have assumed.

VIDEO: Arizona State’s Torian Graham dunks over teammate

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Arizona State fans won’t get a chance to see Torian Graham take the floor this season, but he did sky over fellow teammates (and transfer) Shannon Evans on Friday night at the team’s Maroon and Gold Madness. The 6-foot-4 Graham is a former Buffalo commit — Evans also came from Buffalo — and both players will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.

Graham hasn’t had a chance to get into a Division I game, but he’ll be able to play for the Sun Devils next season. For now, fans can look forward to Graham’s athleticism on the wing in pregame dunk routines.

A former top-100 prospect, Graham also pulled off this ridiculous move in the dunk contest.


VIDEOS: Bill Self makes two skits, Bragg plays piano

Bill Self
AP Photo
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Kansas head coach Bill Self is known for being unique for the annual Late Night at the Phog and this season, he went with some parody videos centered around the recent DirecTV ads. In the two skits, Self plays himself — which acknowledges his many accolades — while playing alongside “short shorts Bill Self” and “graduate assistant Bill Self”.

Hard to say if these videos top Self showing up in a suit like Andrew Wiggins last year, but there do have good promotional value for the program and Self.

Kansas players also had their chance to shine, with both men’s and women’s teams doing dances. Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor also attempted to lip sync to Michael Jackson. Freshman forward Carlton Bragg showed some solid ability on the piano, which got the crowd going. Bragg was also one of the strong points in a scrimmage.

Of course, the highlight of the night is Bill Self losing $10,000 on a halfcourt shot, but here’s everything else notable from Late Night at the Phog.