SMU is a perfect 6-0 at home as it prepares to host Vanderbilt in Dallas on Saturday.
But coach Tim Jankovich was smiling after his team's 83-64 win over UNLV on Wednesday not so much because he has two consecutive home games coming up, but because he believes his Mustangs (6-3) are playing the right way.
"This was our first big step into ... we're all going to buy into guarding, we're all going to buy into sharing the ball," Jankovich said afterward.
"That's doesn't mean it's always going to be that way," he added, "but certainly the mindset (Wednesday) was great and it's a very positive step and we need to build off of that."
The Mustangs' first chance to do that will come against the Commodores (5-1), who are 1-0 on the road this season, beating struggling Pittsburgh, 68-52.
"It's good that we know we've gone on the road and had a win against a good team," coach Jerry Stackhouse said, adding that SMU is "a team that presents some challenges for us defensively."
But, he noted, "We should be able to match up against a team that bodes well for us offensively. We're going to be able to run our stuff and hopefully execute the way we're capable of."
Both Scotty Pippen Jr. and Jordan Wright average 14.8 points for Vanderbilt, which has only 73 assists and 82 turnovers.
It hasn't helped that Dayton transfer Rodney Chatman (knee), who averaged 3.8 assists last season, is sidelined. Also out is Minnesota transfer center Liam Robbins (foot). Neither one has suited up for the Commodores.
"These are barometer games but how much of a barometer?" Stackhouse said. "We're missing two starters. But it's great reps for our younger guys to be able to play in these types of environments.
"We're still progressing," he added, "and we're nowhere near who we want to be at the end of the year."
Kendric Davis (20.2 points, 5.7 assists) and Marcus Weathers (11.3 points, 6.7 rebounds) lead SMU.
Jankovich feels much the same way Stackhouse does about his program.
"We're still a work in progress," he said. "We're still trying to figure out who we are."
--Field Level Media