Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Louisville, DePaul, and SMU are rebuilding back to relevancy

Louisville Basketball coach Pat Kelsey speaks as he is introduced as the new head coach of UofL Mens’s Basketball on Thursday, March 28, 2024
Louisville Basketball coach Pat Kelsey speaks as he is introduced as the new head coach of UofL Mens’s Basketball on Thursday, March 28, 2024 / Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal / USA
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Andy Enfield heads to Dallas to help SMU end their NCAA drought

The SMU Mustangs join Louisville as a member of the ACC this July and will do so with plenty of changes in hopes of changing their postseason luck. They have been to just two NCAA tournaments since 1993 and haven't won a game in the big dance since 1988. While it didn't come as a huge surprise that they moved on from Rob Lanier, landing Andy Enfield after he left USC was. He made the change after 11 years with the Trojans amassing 220 wins.

Enfield does inherit three players who started at least 20 games for the Mustangs last season. Chuck Harris was second on the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game. He also grabbed over three rebounds and dished out over three assists per contest. But Harris was the team's best long-distance shooter, hitting over 40% on 167 attempts. Also returning to the backcourt is junior B.J. Edwards who despite being just 6'3 was very productive on the boards in his 18 minutes per game, pulling down 3.1 per game. The last of the three returning starters from last year is senior forward Keon Ambrose-Hylton. The native of Toronto averaged seven points and four rebounds for an SMU team that went nine and sometimes 10 deep on most nights.

Even with that foundation, Enfield hit the portal hard bringing in seven transfers to bolster the roster. He brought in three backcourt players and four that should help the frontcourt immediately. Two of the biggest additions, literally and figuratively were Matt Cross from UMass and Yohan Traore out of UC Santa Barbara. The 6'7 Cross averaged 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assists last season. Traore is a 6'11 center who should slot right in the middle for Enfield. He put up 14.5 points and grabbed five boards for the Gauchos. Joining them in the frontcourt is Jerrell Colbert who was used sparingly at Kansas State and Tibet Gorener who is a 6'9 forward who scored 11 points and pulled down 3.4 rebounds per game at San Jose State last year.

The backcourt additions are led by Kevin Miller who was second in scoring at Wake Forest with 15.6 points and led them with 3.5 assists per game. Shooting guards Kario Oquendo from Oregon and A.J. George from Long Beach State also join the team. Oquendo put in over seven points per game for the Ducks in just under 18 minutes per game. George added 10.6 to go along with four rebounds for the 49ers.

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It's too early to tell if this is a tournament team in their first year in the ACC, but Enfield's hire surprised some but could be just what the program needed to turn things around in Dallas.