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SMU basketball won't lose identity in Big East

DALLAS -- SMU's move to the Big East in July 2013 has everything to do with setting the program up with the best chance to succeed at football.

That leaves the basketball program in an interesting situation. On one hand, it joins one of the elite basketball conferences in the nation that routinely puts multiple teams in the NCAA tournament.

On the other hand, SMU is historically a middle-of-the-pack Conference USA contender and might have bitten off more than it can chew in its first years in the conference.

That, however, doesn't concern head coach Matt Doherty, who sees an opportunity to pick up top recruits from Texas and the East Coast who will make the Mustangs a threat in the basketball-focused Big East.

The move will bring new faces to Dallas and send the Mustangs to new venues on the road, but Doherty said his team will not adapt to any type of Big East system, but rather will continue to implement the same foundations the team utilized in C-USA.

"I'd like to hope they can adjust to us," Doherty said. "We're not going to change much. We'll play our matchup zone and we'll play our offense, which is actually kind of like Georgetown, so I like to be different. I don't like to be like everyone else, but I think the neat thing about the Big East is they have different kinds of teams."

As far as recruiting goes, Doherty has a card up his sleeve that he thinks will be a hot selling point for East-Coast standouts, literally. SMU students enjoyed a walk to class Thursday in shorts and flip flops, which is a style that won't be seen in the Northeast for several more months.

"Get a recruit to come down here and it's 60. It's a beautiful place and I know how to pitch it," Doherty said.