INDIANAPOLIS (NCAA/SMU) – On the heels of winning the American Athletic Conference regular season title and conference tournament championship, the SMU men’s basketball team earned a No. 6 seed in the East Region when the pairings for this season’s NCAA Tournament were announced on Sunday. The Mustangs will play the winner of Wednesday’s First Four game between Providence and USC on Friday at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
SMU (30-4, 17-1), which finished the regular season ranked No. 12 team in the AP Poll and No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, is making its 12th appearance in the tournament and second in three seasons.
SMU defeated No. 15/18 Cincinnati, 71-56, in the championship game of The American Tournament on Sunday afternoon. The Mustangs never relinquished the lead, going up by as many as 17 over the Bearcats. SMU had four players score in double figures, including Sterling Brown who posted a game-high 18 points. Semi Ojeleye (14), Jarrey Foster (13) and Ben Moore (12) also posted double-digit performances, with Ojeleye and Moore tying for a game-high nine rebounds. Shake Milton added a game-high six assists and Foster posted a game-high four blocks.
AAC Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year Ojeleye was name the championship’s Most Outstanding Player, while Brown and Moore were also named to the All-Tournament team.
A meeting with USC (24-9, 10-8) would be the second of the season, with the Trojans winning the first meeting, 78-73, Nov. 25 in Los Angeles. USC fell to No. 3 UCLA in the Pac 12 quarterfinals. SMU is 1-5 all-time against the Trojans.
This would be the first meeting between SMU and Providence (20-12, 10-8). Providence fell in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.
SMU has set the program record for most wins in a season this year, winning 26 of its last 27 games, including 16 straight.