Dave Bliss, perhaps the most reviled figure in a sport with some ugly scandals, drove three hours one way to Dallas on Jan. 4 to celebrate the opening of SMU's renovated Moody Coliseum and meet with a few former players. He also witnessed the rebirth of a longtime moribund basketball program last nationally relevant when he coached the team three decades ago.

That afternoon, Bliss saw SMU upset Connecticut 74-65, its first victory against a ranked opponent in more than 10 years and first sold-out home crowd in more than 12 years. Since then, the Mustangs have continued their surprising season, winning 11 of their past 14 games heading into Sunday's rematch at UConn and more than justifying for now the shocking April 2012 hiring of veteran vagabond coach Larry Brown.

SMU home games have become big attractions. Former President George W. Bush and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban were in attendance on Wednesday night when the Mustangs defeated Houston 68-64 and improved to 21-6 overall and 10-4 in the American Athletic Conference. Myles Turner, a high school center from nearby Bedford, Texas, and the nation's second ranked senior according to ESPN, was also at Wednesday's game.