Here are the cards and summaries for our next two games. At the bottom of the blog Arkansas 2021 is a 1-point favorite over Xavier 2023.
As we get down to our last few all-time great teams to debut, our last top 100 team to play their 1st game is SMU. Like other great teams such as DePaul whose dominance is forgotten due to an upset in unpredictable March Madness, this team was great and much better than the 6-seed they received.
Heading into their last actual game of the season, SMU had won 25 of 26 games, including their only loss in that stretch when the destroyed Cincinnati in the American title game to add that banner to the 17-1 regular season title banner. Cincy had beaten SMU by 2 points at Cincy. Despite the shocking decision to only give them a 6-seed gave them a tough opponent in USC, but they dominated most of the game for a 53-43 lead with 11:36 to play.
However we wonder if only having a 6-mai rotation against the athletic USC hurt them down the stretch, as USC hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left and then SMU missed a would be game winning lay-up with three seconds left to lose a 65-66 heartbreak. If you look at the Stamina and suggested possessions at the bottom of the SMU cards, you see only Michael Forrest comes off the bench. None of the other four reserves have scheduled possessions - every player gets a minimum of a Stamina 5 even if we don't actually suggest using them unless someone fouls out or a different strategy is needed.
As dominant as SMU was, we peg them as only a 4-point favorite against a Florida Atlantic team that truly arrived in 2023 and appears here to stay. The Owls beat teams from the Big 12,American and SEC to make the Final Four before losing 72-71 to San Diego State in the semifinal.
Here are the cards for SMU and Florida Atlantic. The Owls are the opposite with a true 10-man rotation.
Here are the cards for the next game, in which Arkansas 2021 is a 1-point favorite against Xavier. In this game, Xavier would have likely been a small favorite based on their 17-4 record before Zach Freemantle was lost for the season. If the cards were made based on those 21 games Freemantle would have had a much higher Stamina and could play almost all of the game, but we average all games so he plays a bit less than half of our games with full stamina - on the 44th to 28th possession.