UCSB @ SMU 12/8
Even without Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU is a hot pick as a team to break out this season. With a highly respected coach in Larry Brown and a roster full of the guys who almost won the NIT last season, the Mustangs do appear primed for a big season.
While dates at Gonzaga, Michigan, and Indiana will be the main non-conference stressors for SMU and its fans, Alan Williams and his Gauchos lurk in the shadows, ready to strike.
Williams is a legitimate star, and gets ignored far too often because he plies his trade in the basketball Siberia of the Big West (ironically, UCSB is basically paradise for an 18-23 year old in all other respects. Fair trade-off).
The big man averaged 21.3 and 11.5 on 53% shooting last year, and should push those numbers even higher last year. If UCSB is able to dominate the Big West as many think they should, Williams will be a potential All-American. He’s that good.
The ‘Chos will also bring back sharp shooter Michael Bryson (11.5 PPG and 4.3 RPG, shot 42% from beyond the arc) and point guard and leading assist-man Zalmico Harmon (8 PPG and 5 APG). They are an experienced bunch, and with a workhorse like Alan Williams, they won’t be afraid of any Mustangs.
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