North Texas opens up their conference tournament run with a battle against La Tech. Both teams suffered late season collapses. This game should be a battle till the end. The winner gets ODU on Thursday night.
- Wednesday, March 7 2018
- 8:30 p.m. CT
- The Star , Frisco TX
- TV: Facebook
- Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM
- Line: La Tech -2.5
What You Need to Know About La Tech
Record: 16-15 (7-11)
Last Game vs UNT: W La Tech 66-65 (1/18/18)
Last Game: L Southern Miss 72-64
Scoring Margin: 4.4
CUSA Scoring Margin: -0.7
Season Story: The Bulldogs season started out with great hope. Everyone including myself picked La Tech as one of the top contenders in CUSA. LT lost some tough games early on. They almost upset Alabama, played tough against Texas, and lost a couple of heart breakers to other good mid major programs (La Lafeyette, SFA). The season started to take a downward turn when sophomore stud Jalen Harris decided to transfer. It’s understandable to transfer at the end of the year, but Harris left mid season. La Tech has never really regained momentum. A close loss at the beginning of CUSA play signaled to most that the Bulldogs still had a shot, but 3 straight losses left more question marks. La Tech’s CUSA schedule was top heavy, and after being beat up by the contenders the Bulldogs claimed 4 straight wins, even without CUSA star DaQuan Bracey. Bracey has been hampered with a back injury. La Tech finished up the season going 2-6. They remain a dangerous team heading into the CUSA tourney if they can find a way to play some defense.
Projected Starting Lineups
|Ryan Woolridge 6-3||G||5.5 A/pg|
|Roosevelt Smart 6-3||G||18.8 PT/pg|
|A.J. Lawson 6-5||G||9.8 PT/pg|
|Allante Holston 6-7||F||3.6 PT/pg|
|Zach Simmons 6-9||F||5.9 PT/pg|
|Amorie Archibald 6-3||G||7.1 PT/pg|
|Derric Jean 6-2||G||9.3 PT/pg|
|Jacobi Boykins 6-6||G||14.7 PT/pg|
|Anthony Duruji 6-7||F||7.4 PT/pg|
|Oliver Powell 6-8||F||7.3 PT/pg|
- Defense – Man
- Best Offensive Weapon – Amorie Archibald
- Best Shooter – Jacobi Boykins
- Best Defender – Derric Jean
- Rim Protecter – Yes, Anthony Duruji
- Primary Offensive Scoring Way – 3 Pointers
- Secondary Offensive Scoring Way – Free Throws
- Offensive Weakness – Inside Shot Making
- Defensive Weakness – 3 Pointers
- Defensive Strength – Rim Protection
Last Game vs UNT
- Defense – Man
- Shot Chart
- 3 Pointers – 41%
- Inside – 41%
- Mid Range – 18 %
- Best Offensive Weapon – Anthony Duruji
- Best Defender – Exavian Christon
- Offensive Efficiency Rating – 92.1
- Defensive Efficiency Rating – 90.7
- Stats That Stood Out
- 7 Blocked Shots
- 27 Free Throw Attempts
- Allowed 12 Offensive Rebounds
- Allowed 17 Points off TO’s
- Lost the Bench Scoring 20-12
Go To Guys
*Stats are in CUSA Play*
- Woolridge 2 pts, 1-8. 75% of his shots were at the rim
- Archibald 7 pts, 3-6. 50% of his shots were at the rim
Both Archibald and Woolridge had a tough time keeping each other out of the lane in the last game. As you can see by the numbers, Ryan couldn’t finish his shots and Archibald had more success. What separates these two, is Archibald’s ability to hit mid range and 3pt shots. Woolridge got in some foul trouble, so much of the second half North Texas tried to get another match-up for Archibald. Woolridge needs to be more aggressive early in this game with his rim attacking. Ryan should also be able to get a lot assists as LT, likes to collapse hard.
- Smart 3 pts, 1-8. 88% of his shots were 3 pointers
- Jean 0 pts, 0-5. 60% of his shots were at the rim
Smart missed a lot his good looks against Jean. Smart will be able to get any look he wants against Jean. Jean is only 6-2 so Smart can rise and fire over him. Roosevelt was a little 3 happy in this game. Smart needs to attack the rim and try to get to the free throw line. Jean averages 9 points a game, but he did very little against North Texas in their first match up. The concern here is if Jean is able to get hot from 3 point range. He is a 40% 3 point shooter on the season and 37% in conference play.
- Lawson didn’t shoot while Boykins was guarding him
- Boykins 2 pts, 1-3. 66% of his shots were 3 pointers
Boykins is one of the best 3 point shooters in CUSA. He wasnt matched up with Lawson, much last game on the defensive end, but they did see each other when La Tech had the ball. Boykins offensive ability gives him the overall advantage here. Lawson is a wild card for NT. Sometimes he finishes around the rim sometimes he doesn’t. Lawson has to take quality shots and not try to be a volume shooter for NT. The offense flows much better when he doesn’t try to force things.
- Holston 2 pts, 1-3. 66% of his shots were at the rim
- Duruji 2 pts, 1-3. 100% of his shots were at the rim
Duruji was a match up problem for NT last game. The Mean Green had no answer for his offensive skill set. Holston couldn’t keep him out of the lane off the dribble. Duruji also was a on fire beyond the arch. Holston is a better match-up for him than Temera, but there are still concerns. When UNT has the ball Holston is virtually no threat, which will allow Duruji to help out around the rim. He had 3 blocked shots back in January. Holston has to find ways to keep Duruji occupied.
- Simmons 2 pts, 1-1. 100% of his shots were at the rim
- Powell 2 pts, 1-5. 80% of his shots were at the rim
This is the one match-up that North Texas could really do some damage with. Simmons was open a ton off of pick-n-rolls. He was also open a lot off dribble drives from the guards. Simmons did a good job of guarding Powell. North Texas likes to try to front the post entry. Against LT last time the Bulldogs got some good looks, because of that. NT should just let their bigs play from behind. Powell and the other LT bigs aren’t that much of scoring threat. Most times they are looking for the kick out 3.
Other Match-ups to Watch for
Draper vs Archibald
Surprisingly after going back and looking at the film, Draper did a solid job on the more athletic Archibald. On offense Draper had the upper hand. Archibald had to over play DJ, and Draper was able to drive past him on a few occasions. Draper was also able to lose Archibald through some screen action. Would like to see Draper be more aggressive in looking to score once he gets past his defender.
Smart vs Boykins & Exavian Christon
Smart had 15 of his 23 against these two guys. Boykins and Christon arent the best defenders, but they do have some length that will bother Smart. Smart should still be able to drive around them, and run them off screens to get his shots. He had numerous quality looks vs. them.
Temara vs Duruji
Temara started out the game on Duruji, and was no match for him. Duruji was able to take him off the dribble, and was able to lose him in basic movement. Duruji racked up 15 points of his 25 against Shane.
Temara vs Powell
Shane is listed as the projected starter in the game notes, so its possible he will start at the 5. If he does, he should get plenty of good looks in the pick-n-pop game. Powell and LT in general had trouble with their rotations in pick action last game. Powell would lose his man often, and wouldn’t get back. Shane could become an X-factor in this game if he gets off to a good start. Temara went 3/8 behind the 3 point line in the last two games. Temara had one stretch where he didn’t hit a 3 for 7 games.
Inside the Advanced Stat Match-up
- Inside Shooting – North Texas missed a ton of bunnies against LT. They shot a pretty good percentage (65%) at the rim, but in reviewing the film, NT should’ve been better. We are not talking about making contested tough shots. We are talking about point blank put backs, and being stronger. LT is a tough team to score on at the rim, but NT will get plenty of looks.
- 3 point defense – LT is one of the better 3 pt shooting teams in the conference. North Texas has to run them off that line and make them finish around the rim, where they aren’t very good.
- Tempo – If LT comes out hot, hits a couple of early 3’s and gets up by double digits North Texas can’t panic. If they do we will be watching another game like the FAU one where NT got blown out. Its very important that the Mean Green stay patient, work for those good shots. Don’t get caught up in trying to make up a deficient in one shot. March is all about momentum swings. Teams that can stay even through the good and bad are the ones that keep advancing.
After re watching the game, you’d see why La Tech is the favorite even though North Texas is the higher seed. La Tech has the better athletes, and the better team. There are a few adjustments that La Tech will likely make, that could make life tougher for Ryan Woolridge. A tough game for Woolridge could make things really tough for NT. Also North Texas is 1-6 in their last 7 games.
BUT La Tech has lost 4 in a row, and the Bulldogs aren’t a good defensive team. North Texas should get the same quality looks that they did back in January, but this time they will make those. Simmons is going to have a big game. Rose and Lawson will also be double digit scorers. North Texas will win this game in similar fashion to most of their other CUSA W’s, by making some key stops and shots down the stretch.
My Pick: North Texas by 3