Loyola Marymount (1-0) at SMU (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 11, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moody Coliseum (8,000) -- Dallas, Texas. Television: Station. Home Record: LMU 1-0, SMU 0-0. Away Record: LMU 0-0, SMU 0-0. Neutral Record: LMU 0-0, SMU 0-0. Conference Record: LMU 0-0, SMU 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: For the first time since he led Kansas to the National Championship in 1988, Larry Brown returns to the college basketball scene to lead the SMU Mustangs as they tip off their season at home versus the Loyola Marymount Lions.
No other offseason hiring in all of sports was more shocking than SMU's of Brown. The legendary head coach surprised many by accepting the job at a struggling program that finished 13-19 overall last season. Not only has Brown found success on the amateur level. He became the only coach in history to win championships at both the NCAA and NBA level after he guided the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 NBA title. Brown has been inactive since leaving the Charlotte Bobcats 28 games into the 2010-2011 season. This will be the final season for SMU as a member of the Conference USA as it is prepared to migrate to the Big East next year.
Brown will need to defeat Loyola Marymount to start out his second stint in the college ranks on the right note. The Lions opened up their season with a 108-49 thrashing of Pacifica. Coach Max Good and his team surprised many last year by finishing 21-13 and fourth in the West Coast Conference behind three schools that went to the NCAA Tournament. LMU not only produced a decent record, it also pulled off upsets of Saint Louis, UCLA, Saint Mary's, and Weber State.
This will be the first meeting in history on the hardwood between these schools.
The Mustangs are unlikely to be very successful in Brown's first year at the helm of the program as there is an obvious need to rebuild the program. SMU has talented transfers in Markus Kennedy (Villanova), Crandall Head (Illinois), and Nic Moore (Illinois State) in practice currently, but the trio will not be eligible for competition until next season. Sophomore forward Jalen Jones is going to have to pick up the slack this season. He averaged eight points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a freshman. Cannen Cunningham will also play a vital role after leading the team with 18 blocks as a rookie in 2011-2012. Jordan Dickerson may surpass Cunningham as the team's leading shot blocker. The freshman from Brooklyn uses his seven-foot frame very well. Uche Ofoegbu is another freshman that will be in the mix for the Mustangs.
LMU had a balanced attack with six players scoring in double figures in its season-opening victory. Ayodeji Egbeyemi led the charge with 20 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in just 25 minutes. Anthony Ireland netted 19 points and dealt out seven assists. Marin Mornar had a double-double off the bench with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but Godwin Okonji and Ashley Hamilton are more likely candidates to record double-doubles in this one. Hamilton was extremely efficient with 11 points and nine boards in 13 minutes of action. Although they were playing a weak opponent, the Lions' totals of 31 assists and 25 forced turnovers were impressive.
Winning on the road is usually not an easy task, but LMU had no problem knocking off the 20th ranked UCLA Bruins in its last season opener. The Mustangs are going to soar to new heights under Brown, but not immediately.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola Marymount 78, SMU 68
11/11 10:33:41 ET