Every year, there is at least one team that, once the the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced, is immediately hyped as a potential “dark horse” Final Four candidate. Sometimes the team is discussed so frequently by the media and others, that the dark horse tag subconsciously fades and the team develops, in some people’s minds, an undeserved overhyped stigma caused by the constant dark horse buzz.
This year, one could say that SMU fit the aforementioned profile. The Mustangs, who went 30-4 in the regular season and won 26 of their final 27 game, were, in some people’s minds, underseeded as a 6-seed in the East region. Nevertheless, even with Duke and Villanova in their bracket, many jumped on the Mustangs bandwagon. Some picked the SMU to make the Final Four, others thought they would, at the least, beat Duke in the Sweet 16.
Turns out, it wasn’t meant to be for SMU, as they fell to USC 66-65 Friday afternoon in a first round heartbreaker, busting many brackets in the process. Some of the carnage is detailed below.
Even before the brackets were announced SMU was on “Final Four darkhotse” radar:
SMU. FINAL FOUR. COLLISION COURSE. #marchmadness
— Shimbo, LLC (@NeverDauntedNet) March 12, 2017
SMU has won 26 of their last 27. I would give that team some serious consideration toward a Final Four run.
— Jake Ryle (@WDTNJakeRyle) March 12, 2017
After the Brackets were announced, TNT’s Kenny Smith picked the Mustangs going to Phoenix…
FWIW, Kenny has SMU headed to the Final Four. https://t.co/ecCYIuCDLO
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) March 17, 2017
SBNation’s Nick Fasulo also picked the Mustangs to go the Final Four, and wrote before the tournament that it was “incredibly liberating to advance a No. 6 to the Final Four with a real level of confidence and logic.”
Fasulo’s colleague Ricky O’Donnell had beating Duke to reach the Elite 8:
— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) March 14, 2017
Here were some other members of the SMU bandwagon…
SMU is a final 4 team. Book it.
— Brett Shipp (@brett_shipp) March 13, 2017
Clark Kellogg has SMU over Duke. Cool.
— Kennardawg (@DukeForum) March 12, 2017
I painstakingly considered choosing a Wichita State run or SMU making it to the Elite Eight, and eventually, settled on the latter. https://t.co/ZyF260JyDm
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) March 13, 2017
Wichita over Kentucky. SMU over Duke. West Virginia to the Final 4. Now I get to sit back and watch it all go up in flames
— Dave Flemming (@FlemmingDave) March 16, 2017
— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownHD) March 13, 2017
SMU’s loss today some college basketball fans reeling over their brackets…
Tough to lose one of your Final Four picks in the first round. That begs the question…
Is it too late to go back and change my SMU over Duke pick?
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) March 17, 2017
Nice try, but that probably will not be allowed.