North Texas is looking to bounce back at home after falling on the road to Nebraska on Monday. The Mean Green will take on the Bethune Cookman Wildcats.
- Thursday, Nov 16 2017
- 7 p.m. CT
- The Super Pit, Denton, TX
- TV: CUSATV
- Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM
What You Need to Know About Bethune Cookman
Coach: Ryan Ridder (1st year at Bethune, previous job was at Daytona State where he had a 95-28)
Last Game: UT Rio Grande Valley L 92-74
Attacking Bethune Cookman
Not much went right early for North Texas. Nebraska really got into UNT. There were no easy buckets like against Eureka College. Fast break points were down from 26 to 2. The length and athleticism of Nebraska really bothered the Mean Green. I had mentioned that in the preview that Nebraska may chose to guard UNT by not helping off shooters and letting their bigs defend the rim. That’s exactly what Nebraska did for most of the night. So instead of open looks for Gibson, Smart, and Duffy it was contested shots in the paint. Other teams with size are going to do the exact same thing to UNT. Bethune isnt as long as Nebraska, but they do have a good rim protector in Shawntrez Davis. Davis has 3 blocks on the year and is blocking 8.2% of the opponents’ two-point shots while he is on the court. Davis is most likely going to be matched up with Temara and Simmons (when he is on the court). I think it would be wise to get Davis in as many pick-n-roll situations as possible. The reason is to draw him out from defending the rim. Using Temara in pick-n-roll makes the pick-n-pop a problem for opposing defenses.
I’ll take my chances with Woolridge 1 on 1 against a big. Getting Woolridge easier looks at the basket, needs to be a priority tonight and throughout the season. If Woolridge is consistently getting easy looks at the rim Bethune is most likely going to turn to a zone. Cookman runs both man and zone defense so they aren’t tied to one. Getting Cookman in a zone will make getting shooters open looks a lot easier.
As much as I like Smart and Duffy they aren’t great at creating their own shots off the dribble. Don’t get me wrong Smart is a really good offensive player he just inst that explosive off the dribble. Smart needs that dribble drive breakdown to help get him open looks. He also needs to work harder to get open. Duffy is still recovering from surgery. You can see he isn’t 100% right yet, but North Texas needs him. Especially with the injury to Umoja Gibson.
That injury to Gibson makes things a bit interesting for Coach McCasland. Gibson was the secondary ball handler behind Woolridge. He was also an excellent defender. Coach McCasland will need to tinker with the line-up. Duffy will probably slide into the back-up 1 slot with DJ Draper helping out.
Getting back to the Bethune Cookman match-up. Cookman isn’t a great defensive team, they did just give up 92 to Rio Grande Valley. What they do well is force turnovers (17.5 pg). Something that was an issue for North Texas against Nebraska. I’m sure Coach McCasland will make that a point of emphasis going into this game.
North Texas should be able to get the free throw line against the Wildcats. BC put Rio Grande Valley on the line 35 times. Woolridge and Lawson should be in attack mode. Another area I like North Texas to take advantage of is on the offensive glass. BC gave up 14 boards and 11 second chance points to an undersized Rio Grande Valley team. UNT had 20 second chance points and 16 offensive rebounds against a big Nebraska team.
Defending Bethune Cookman
Bethune is led by All- Conference talent Brandon Tabb. Tabb is a perimeter scoring threat. He put up 307 3’s last year and has already put up 14 this year. He’s not a great shooter, but rather streaky. In a 3 game stretch last year Tabb went 1-7, 4-15, and 2-7. But there were also games where he hit more than 5 3’s. Its a shame Gibson is injured for North Texas, because he’s the type of defender that could really bother Tabb.
Outside of Tabb the next best scoring threat is Isaiah Bailey. Bailey is a JUCO product out of Angelina, TX. He can play anywhere from the 2 to the 4. BC plays him more at the 4 out of necessity. Will be a good match-up for either Lawson or possibly Holston. Bailey does most of his work inside the arc.
The other guy you have to watch out for is Shawntrez Davis. The big man was a four star recruit out of high school. He didnt qualify to get into Texas Tech, so he eventually landed at a JUCO in Florida. So far this season he is 17 pts per game and 9.5 boards.
So far this season Cookman is one of the worst 3 pt shooting teams in the country. What they’ve done well is get to the free throw line, 59 times in the first two games. UNT struggled keeping Nebraska off the line on Monday. In order to win vs BC they need to cut down on silly fouls.
Projected Starting Lineups
|Ryan Woolridge 6-3||G||17.5 PT/pg|
|Roosevelt Smart 6-3||G||14 PT/pg|
|A.J. Lawson 6-5||G||4 PT/pg|
|Zachary Simmons 6-9||F||4 PT/pg|
|Shane Temara 6-9||F||8.5 REB/pg|
|Malik Maitland 5-11||G||7 A/pg|
|Jeffrey Altidort 6-1||G||9 PT/pg|
|Brandon Tabb 6-5||G||17.5 PT/pg|
|Isaiah Bailey 6-6||G||5.5 REB/pg|
|Shawntrez Davis 6-9||F||17 PT/pg|
Go To Guys
- With no Gibson, guys like Holston and Draper need to step up.
- AJ Lawson has got to get it going. Find a way to get him some easy buckets
- Roosevelt Smart cant get off to a slow start again.
And 1 – I’m interested to see how well UNT starts off the game. Do they start slow again or fast?
Inside the Advanced Stat Match-up
I marked this game down as a “Winner” in my season preview. Basically I think North Texas has a greater than 60% chance of winning. I dont think they will blow Bethune Cookman out. I believe it should be a pretty close game throughout. I think in the end the Mean Green will win this game with their bench production and Woolridge’s ability to get to the rim.
TeamRankings – North Texas by 7
My Pick – North Texas by 8