- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Larry Brown has been one of the stories of the first month of the season. The Mustangs are 8-1 with the only loss against Arkansas-Little Rock. SMU's most significant win so far was over a Utah team which just beat Boise State. Still, this start is somewhat stunning. How is it happening? According to Tim Jankovich, the former Illinois State coach who has been dubbed Brown's coach-in-waiting, "we are scoring easier and we're playing a little faster.'' Jankovich said the Mustangs aren't a deep team so they have to "hold their breath,'' in wishing against injuries and foul problems.
2. Fairfield gave Sydney Johnson two more years to an existing contract, pushing him to 2019. Financial terms won't be released on the deal, but there are salary increases built in that will activate at a later date. Johnson made a bit of a controversial move a year ago when he left his alma mater Princeton after a thrilling entrance into the NCAA tournament with a last-second Ivy League playoff victory over Harvard at Yale. Johnson was emotional after that win and cried after the NCAA tournament near-miss loss to Kentucky. Johnson wasn't able to take Fairfield to the NCAA tournament in his first year, but has one of the top freshmen classes in the league and fully expects to challenge for the MAAC title in March. The Stags are 4-4 this season.
3. ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported Wednesday that Chicago State is moving to the WAC. The Connecticut Post reported earlier in the week that Quinnipiac and Monmouth would be moving to the MAAC out of the NEC. If that happens, then it would occur Friday when the league's presidents meet. No decision or vote has been taken yet, according to a source, but those two schools are naturals to move up a notch as the MAAC looks to replace Loyola (Md.), which is off to the Patriot League. The facilities at both schools will immediately shoot them up toward the top of the conference in that category.