North Texas returns to the hardwood to take on a salty San Diego squad out west. Its a great chance for the Mean Green to get a quality road win.
- Saturday, Dec 16 2017
- 9:30 p.m. CT
- Jenny Craig Pavilion, San Diego, CA
- TV: West Coast Conference TV
- Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM
What You Need to Know About San Diego
Conference: West Coast Conference
Coach: Lamont Smith (3rd season at San Diego 30-42 )
Last Game: Colorado W 69-59
Attacking San Diego
North Texas has had a whole week to get healthy and rested to take on a very good defensive San Diego team. There is still some uncertainty regarding G Jorden Duffy. He will probably be a game time decision.
San Diego is one of the best defensive teams in the WCC. Their stats are off the charts. First in 3pt % defense in the country, 2nd in effective fg%, 30th in 2pt % defense, 53rd in defensive efficiency. The Toreros have length, athleticism, and depth. Its going to be a hard night for the North Texas offense. The Toreros haven’t given up more than 67 points this year.
The NT offense is coming off one of its best offensive performances of the year. They manhandled McNeese St. enroute to an 85-47 victory. That was without Jorden Duffy, and without AJ Lawson scoring in double figures. Hard to imagine that being possible, but NT got some great efforts from unlikely sources. Tope Arikawe poured in 11 points. Perhaps the JUCO product is finally getting comfortable with his role and the D1 game. Holston, Miller, and Draper combined for 18 points. That is a fantastic sign. Does it signal that North Texas has a great bench? No not at all, but it does mean that those guys can score. It means those guys can contribute. Draper taking 5 3’s is significant. He was hesitant in the Indiana St game and passed up shots. Holston had a highlight dunk. These 4 guys are essential to the success of North Texas in this game. They don’t have to score a lot, but they have to produce.
There are a few areas that North Texas could exploit in their game against San Diego. First being free throws. San Diego ranks almost dead last at putting opponents on the free throw line. Thirty percent of their opponents points come from the free throw line. The second area is rebounding. The Toreros are an okay defensive rebounding team, and they aren’t good with offensive rebounding. I believe North Texas should be able to damage in both areas Saturday night. These two areas could dictate if North Texas is able to hang around.
Defending San Diego
San Diego is a deep experienced team. They are led by Olin Carter III. Carter had to shoulder a lot of PG duties last year, and that hindered his game. This year, he’s been able to play his true position at the 2 guard. Carter’s 3 PT % is down from last year, but he remains the primary outside scoring threat for the Toreros.
Carter was able to move to the 2 guard, because Utah transfer Isaiah Wright has been cleared to play. Wright has taken over the point guard duties and has excelled. He might even be the best all around player for San Diego. Wright is a pretty good pick-n-roll player, he’s also been knocking down 3’s, but his best ability might be his defensive skills. He averaging almost 2 steals per game. He is a lock down defender and it will be fun to watch him match up with Ryan Woolridge.
The inside scoring threat for San Diego is Isaiah Pineiro. Pineiro is a 6-7 transfer from Portland St. So far Pineiro leads the Toreros in points per game and rebounds. Pineiro is a tough match-up for North Texas because he can play so many positions. He does most of his damage from the 4 and 5 positions.
Statistically there is nothing impressive about San Diego offensively. One thing that stands out is their tempo. They are very similar to North Texas the Toreros like to play a slow game. Their average offensive possession is 18.4 seconds which ranks 300th out of 351.
Projected Starting Lineups
|Ryan Woolridge 6-3||G||4.3 A/pg|
|Roosevelt Smart 6-3||G||17.4 PT/pg|
|A.J. Lawson 6-5||G||10.8 PT/pg|
|Zachary Simmons 6-9||F||5.9 PT/pg|
|Shane Temara 6-9||F||6.6 REB/pg|
|Isaiah Wright 6-2||G||13.7 PT/pg|
|Olin Carter III 6-2||G||12.3 PT/pg|
|Cameron Neubauer 6-7||G||7.7 PT/pg|
|Isaiah Pineiro 6-7||F||15.1PT/pg|
|Yauhen Massalkski 6-10||F||4.7 REB/pg|
Go To Guys
- North Texas must a find a way to get easy baskets. Facing this San Diego D in the half court all night is not going to be easy.
- Have to win on the offensive glass again.
- Be aggressive early. Dont settle for contested 3’s. Drive to the basket. Attack
Inside the Advanced Stat Match-up
The growth of this North Texas program under Grant McCasland has been tremendous so far in December. Just think about what they’ve done- stood toe to toe with a top 25 mid major program on the road, taken down a solid Missouri Valley Conf team at home, and completely destroyed a team they should. Now the next test is to win a road out of conference game against a quality opponent. They get that chance Saturday against San Diego. Its a very winnable game, despite the fact that Jorden Duffy is most likely out again.
I think this game comes down to a couple of things the first being NT’s ability to get second chance points. San Diego’s first shot defense is stellar, and right now North Texas just doesnt have enough offensive firepower to overcome that San Diego D. If North Texas can control the offensive glass, they have a great shot at the victory. The second most important thing is bench production. Its one thing to get bench production at home. You expect that to happen. Good teams get it on the road. Now Im not saying everyone has to score 10 points, but someone off the bench has to make a significant contribution.
I believe this game will be close. Its going to look ugly, its going to look physical. I don’t believe there will be many open looks for either team. I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams struggle to make it to 20 in the first half.
Each and every game North Texas gets better. Saturday night I think they take another step in the maturation of this team. I believe they will go on the road and shock San Diego. The Toreros are coming off a big win over Colorado, and will come out flat. North Texas is going to be in attack mode all night. It wont be pretty, but North Texas comes out on top because they will make their free throws down the stretch.
My Pick: North Texas by 4