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Breakfast Buffet: SMU shows progress with win in Larry Brown’s debut

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Larry Brown (AP)

1. Skepticism surrounding SMU's hire of Larry Brown this offseason centered around the unlikeliness of the 71-year-old staying for more than a couple seasons, but nobody ever questioned the Hall of Famer's ability as a coach. As a result, it's no surprise to see Brown had the undermanned Mustangs prepared for their season opener, a 73-58 victory over an LMU squad hoping to finish in the top half of the WCC. That's a result that suggests SMU may fare better in Conference USA than preseason projections indicated.

2. Anytime you host a season-opening tournament featuring Holy Cross, Morgan State and Texas-San Antonio, the goal is to emerge with three victories and some early season confidence. Alas, for Old Dominion, it didn't work out that way. The Monarchs sandwiched losses to the Crusaders (46-45) and the Roadrunners (79-70) around a lone win over the Bears (72-61), not a good start for a program already ineligible for the CAA tournament.

3. Georgetown's 61-55 victory over Duquesne produced more anxiety than excitement from Hoyas fans on Sunday as a result of a head injury suffered by the team's best player. Sophomore forward Otto Porter went to the locker room after getting hit in the head during contact under the basket and did not return the remainder of the game. Said Georgetown coach John Thompson III after the game, "We're just going to monitor him the next few days and see."

4. The best college hoops read of the weekend is this piece from CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman on the sad odyssey of former elite prospect Taylor King. The former Duke and Villanova player squandered NBA ability and became estranged from his father as a result of immature decisions and drug use, but now he's trying to get his life back together and carve out a pro career overseas.

5. Under-the-radar win worth noting from Saturday night: How about UC Irvine routing Nevada 78-64? The question now is whether that result says more about the Anteaters or the Wolfpack. UC Irvine returns the core of a team that lost 20 games a year ago but improved as the season went along. Nevada is expected to contend for an NCAA bid in its first year in the Mountain West thanks to the backcourt of Deonte Burton and Malik Story.

Most of Syracuse's best plays came blocking or altering shots on the defensive end Sunday against San Diego State, but the Orange did generate an occasional offensive highlight or two. This alley-oop from C.J. Fair to Rakeem Christmas exposed San Diego State's poor transition defense Sunday and inspired a roar from the orange-clad fans aboard the USS Midway.

"I was pretty much praying they went in." — Syracuse guard Brandon Triche on shooting free throws on the wind-blown deck of the USS Midway. The Orange's prayers were answered more often than San Diego State's. They shot 11 of 18 from the foul line compared to 14 of 33 for the Aztecs.

• Fairfield at Virginia, 7 p.m. ET (NIT Season Tip-Off)

• West Virginia at Gonzaga, 12 a.m. ET

• Davidson at New Mexico, 2 a.m. ET

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