3 Big 12 schools, SMU to tip off men's college basketball season at AAC

3 Big 12 schools, SMU to tip off men's college basketball season at AAC

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by JOE TRAHAN

Bio | Email | Follow: @joetrahan

WFAA Sports

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM

DALLAS -- Now that the college football season has begun, local college basketball teams like SMU and TCU say they know they have to do more to get fans attention.

"We want a buzz wherever we can get one," said SMU Associate Head Coach Tim Jankovich. "We want people paying attention where they may not have before."

Enter the newly created Tipoff Showcase - college basketball's first games in this upcoming season.

Alabama vs. Oklahoma, Baylor vs. Colorado will face off, as well as TCU vs. SMU, the feature game locally.

So, the road to the Final Four will begin in Dallas at the American Airlines Center with the Tipoff Showcase and end with the Final Four itself at AT&T Stadium in April.

But there's more to this event. For local teams, it's also a another powerful tool to use in recruiting.

SMU created a big splash when the nation's No. 3 ranked player in the class of 2014, Emmanuel Mudiay of Prime Prep Academy, decided to stay at home in Dallas to play with the Ponies.

"Once one person comes and has success and likes it, they come back and tell their family, friends and tell [them] 'It's a great place, you definitely need to look at it,'" said Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew, whose made great strides in mining the Dallas area for talent.

"There's enough good players to go around," said TCU Head Coach Trent Johnson, about to begin his second year in Fort Worth. "Now, I don't know if there are enough great players, but they're enough good players to go around."

The biggest hurdle local teams have to fight is a lack of tradition like the basketball factories at Kentucky and Kansas. But Johnson said they're fighting to make a change, and shining the spotlight locally to start the season can only help.

"Plenty of players in the state of Texas -- we all keep 'em in state, we'll have multiple teams in final fours," Drew said.

Johnson concurred.

"It's about rolling your sleeves up, it's about being committed, and having a plan and getting after it," he said.

That's what they'll do Nov. 8 at the Tipoff Showcase, and perhaps more kids like Mudiay will be watching.

E-mail jtrahan@wfaa.com

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