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2022 CUSA Tournament: North Texas vs Rice Preview

FRISCO, TX — We are here. I spent $200 on new Mean Green gear and am going to rock it this morning the women’s game.

Note: The women are criminally under-covered 2-seed NT take on ODU, a team that blew out UTSA yesterday at 11:30am.

My kids were showed with (too many) gifts from their grandma, I have eaten too many brunch-like meals, and much basketball has been watched. In short, it has been a good time up until now. There has been nothing on the line, no gut-wrenching moments. No nerves tingling. That’s over. It is tournament time for your Mean Green.

If you have not watched much of the league up to this point, go over to, and catch up.

Rice, or THEM AGAIN?

The Owls are big underdogs against NT in this one, something like 11 points. Grant McCasland and his entire staff were watching the CLT-Rice game in preparation, and no doubt saw Scott Pera’s game plan for attacking the Charlotte bigs. We will likely see them try to put Abou Ousmane in trouble.

Wait, let me pause. This is Rice in a nutshell.

3 Travis Evee: Slight. Scoring guard who will let it fly from anywhere. He can and will get hot. 
24 Chris Mullins: Athletic guard that will attack the rim
12 Carl Pierre: Senior shooter, with good athleticism. 
15 Max Fiedler: Big man with good passing instincts, and capable of scoring inside with both hands. He’s really good.
34 Mylyjael Poteat: Big man who played big minutes against CLT’s slight guards. 

Here is North Texas:

5 Tylor Perry: Undersized big game moment-meeter. Perry has hit a couple of game winners, and can get his shot off vs anyone. Will struggle when trapped, which teams often do. 
11 JJ Murray: Former walk-on defensive stopper. He will stretch the floor and also drive and get a bucket off a catch. 
1 Mardrez McBride: Big shot maker, three-point specialist. Will attack the rim with abandon
4 Thomas Bell: Four-man that can guard all positions capably. He is versatile and will do a little of everything. His weakness: free throws
33 Abou Ousmane: Big man with soft touch, and nice feet. He has impressed against the league’s best defenders and scoring big men. 
15 Rubin Jones: Lengthy point-guard that will play any of the front court and small forward spots. He can shoot, attack, and pass. Ball-handler. 
2 Aaron Scott: Freshman backup big, he can run the floor. Occasionally has freshman moments, but is unafraid.

The gist of things is that Rice has a poor defense, and a simple offense predicated on getting open looks for three. North Texas has the best defense in the league, and the third-best offense (by efficiency metrics). North Texas wants to slow it down and force you to defend, and will also make you work for everything you do on offense. Rice? Well Rice wants to shoot it, and is not very good at defending much you do. That is because their bigs are pretty slow-footed and cannot recover from pick and roll situations much.

Rice is also hurt, down to 8 guys. NT plays just 7 but that’s because they want to. The two times these teams played before were NT wins:

Jan 1st: NT 75-43 winners at home. NT scored easily and often.
Feb 12: NT 67-44 winners away. NT scored easily in this one as well.

This one probably ends in a North Texas blow out. It is essentially a home game, and NT knows what to expect from the Owls. NT is coming off a loss and should be feeling pretty locked in. The only thing to consider is not having played in Frisco yet. That usually takes a couple of minutes to figure out, however, and is not a major advantage. Quality wins out, or at least has here so far (Tech, UTEP, etc)

What Should I Keep An Eye Out For?

Here is a list:

  • Can Thomas Bell (4) get to his spots — post ups, attacking the basket on the catch — with ease and confidence?
  • Can Tylor Perry(5) get rhythm looks?
  • Can Abou Ousmane(33) stay aggressive against Fiedler and Poteat, a couple of bigs with good size?

Anything I should Worry About?

Rice will shoot it, and if they get hot they can keep it close. Also, NT struggled from the foul line vs UTEP, (and all year). If it is a close game, that will be a factor.

NT is favored by 11 or so.

City Works Grille is the MG head quarters. Join us. I will be there.

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