SMU will take on Minnesota in the 2014 National Invitation Tournament Championship at 6 p.m. CT Thursday, April 3, in Madison Square Garden, New York City. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.
Both programs received No. 1 seeds in their respective regions. SMU is 4-2 all-time in the NIT, including this year’s victories over UC Irvine (68-54 on March 19), LSU (80-67 on March 24), California (67-65 on March 26) and Clemson (65-59 on April 1) en route to the program’s first national tournament final.
SMU has 27 wins, the second-most in program history, and the most since the Mustangs recorded 28 wins in the 1987-88 season. The Mustangs went 18-1 at home this season, including 12-1 inside Moody Coliseum, and broke their single-season attendance record, setting the new mark at 107,412 (previous record was 101,296 in 1984-85).
The Mustangs are 7th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (1st in the American), holding opponents to 38.3%. The Mustang defense is allowing just 62.2 points per game, 24th in the NCAA (3rd in the American). SMU has held 29 of its last 45 (23 of 36 this year) opponents under 40% shooting. SMU has outrebounded 25 of 36 opponents this season.
The No. 1-seeded SMU Mustangs (25-9) will play the No. 2 seed California Golden Bears (21-13) for the chance to advance to the Final Four and Madison Square Garden in the 2014 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Mustangs take the home court advantage at 8 p.m. CT Wednesday, March 26 in Moody Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
The quarterfinal matchup will see the SMU men’s team break its overall attendance record for a season – 101,296 during the 1984-85 season. SMU enters the contest at 100,374 fans for the 18 home games in the 2013-14 campaign. SMU is 2-2 all-time in the NIT, including this year’s victories over UC Irvine (68-54 March 19) and LSU (80-67 March 24).
SMU’s 25 wins on the season ties for third most in program history, and the most since the Mustangs recorded 28 wins in 1987-88. The Mustangs are 17-1 at home this season, including 11-1 in the renovated Moody Coliseum since Jan. 4 – the most home victories in program history.
In addition, the team finished with 12 conference wins for the first time since its 12 Southwest Conference wins in the 1992-93 season. The Mustangs’ third-place conference finish was the program’s best record since finishing third in the WAC in 2002-03.
On Thursday, March 20, Head Coach Larry Brown was selected one of five finalists for the 2014 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, presented by the Atlanta Sports Council. Brown has also been named one of 10 finalists for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year award and one of three finalists for the Jewish Coaches Association National Coach of the Year award. In his second season on the Hilltop, Brown and the Mustangs have posted the top NCAA RPI turnaround (among teams in the top 100) from 2012-13 to 2013-14, improving their mark 160 spots from 213 a year ago to 53 as of Monday, March 17.