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SMU returns deep, talented team

SMU Mustangs

2013-14: 27-10 (12-6 American)
In-conference offense: 1.04 points per possession (sixth)
In-conference defense: 0.95 points allowed per possession (third)

It's a testament to the quick revitalization of the SMU program that a season characterized by such high hopes can also carry an undercurrent of lament. As good as the Mustangs should be this season -- and that's easily strong enough to win the American Athletic Conference title -- the absence of Emmanuel Mudiay will hang over everything they do. That's how much the nation's No. 2 point guard recruit would have meant to the team as a freshman.

Larry Brown is honest in saying he thought the Mustangs would have been contending for a national title with Mudiay. Instead, amid questions about his eligibility, Mudiay opted to play professionally in China. And while SMU is still deep and talented, the team lacks that extra level of elite play he would have provided.