Six days ago Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs won their first game at the new Moody Coliseum, beating UConn 74-65 with Nic Moore accounting for 20 points and six assists to lead the way. Moore, a transfer from Illinois State, is just one of the impact newcomers on the roster, with another being junior college transfer Yanick Moreira.
The 6-foot-11 Moreira has started all 14 games this season for the Mustangs, posting averages of 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and shooting 56.3% from the field. Unfortunately for SMU they won’t have Moreira on Sunday afternoon when they visit No. 12 SMU, as it was reported by multiple outlets that he partially tore the MCL in his left knee during Thursday’s practice.
In an interview with Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Brown stated that the big man could miss anywhere from three to six weeks. With that being the case some reserves will have to raise their level of production alongside Villanova transfer Markus Kennedy, who’s currently averaging 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
“Yanick won’t need surgery,” Brown said. “Now some guys who should have played more will have to step up. Cannen Cunningham and Ben Moore are two guys who will have to fill in.”
The Cunningham/Moore tandem is currently averaging a combined 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in just over 23 minutes of action per game. In Louisville the Mustangs will face a team that doesn’t lack for front court questions, with Chane Behanan’s dismissal hurting the Cardinals’ interior depth.
Sunday’s game represents another opportunity for SMU to make a statement, not only in regards to the future of the program but also the current and their chances of making a run at an NCAA tournament berth. And the Mustangs will need to do so without the help of one of the best front court players.