SMU took another significant step in a turnaround basketball season Monday, climbing to No. 18 in the Associated Press’ rankings.
The Mustangs (23-6, 12-4 in American) emerged as the lone school from the LoneStarState in this week’s poll because Texas (21-8, 10-6 in Big 12) fell out of the rankings after Saturday’s loss to No. 23 Oklahoma.
SMU, 15-0 in home games this season, will have conference title implications on the line Wednesday when the Mustangs meet No. 11 Louisville (24-5, 13-3 in American), the defending national champion and a co-leader in the league standings, at Moody Coliseum in Dallas (6 p.m., CBSSN).
The No. 18 ranking is the Mustangs’ highest of the season. SMU, a 15-17 team last season, is well-positioned to earn its first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 1993.
_ Jimmy Burch