Categories
CUSA Stuff Football

C-USA Preseason Power Rankings & Ratings

MGN CUSA POWER RANKINGS
RANK TEAM RATING
1 MARSHALL 86.2
2 WESTERN KENTUCKY 84.8
3 MIDDLE TENNESSE ST 83.5
4 SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 83.0
5 LOUISIANA TECH 78.3
6 FIU 77.0
7 OLD DOMINION 76.9
8 FAU 76.4
9 UTEP 75.8
10 RICE 75.0
11 CHARLOTTE 72.8
12 UTSA 71.6
13 NORTH TEXAS 71.0
MGN CUSA OFFENSIVE RATINGS
RANK TEAM RATING
1 SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 85.3
2 WESTERN KENTUCKY 84.8
3 MIDDLE TENNESSE ST 83.4
4 MARSHALL 86.2
5 UTEP 79.1
6 FIU 76.9
7 OLD DOMINION 76.8
8 CHARLOTTE 76.7
9 LOUISIANA TECH 76.5
10 NORTH TEXAS 75.9
11 UTSA 75.3
12 FAU 71.0
13 RICE 70.9
MGN CUSA DEFENSIVE RATINGS
RANK TEAM RATING
1 MARSHALL 88.4
2 FAU 85.1
3 SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 82.5
4 MIDDLE TENNESSE ST 79.9
5 WESTERN KENTUCKY 79.2
6 LOUISIANA TECH 77.2
7 FIU 75.9
8 UTEP 73.9
9 UTSA 73.9
10 CHARLOTTE 73.3
11 RICE 73.3
12 OLD DOMINION 72.6
13 NORTH TEXAS 70.0
Categories
Football

C-USA Predicted Records

Using a power ranking formula I’ve predicted the conference record for every team in CUSA. Each team was given an overall power ranking, offensive power ranking, and defensive power ranking (these rankings will be released later). This same equation helped pick 80% of the games correctly in last seasons preseason predictions.

 

CUSA East W L
MARSHALL 7 1
MIDDLE TENNESSE ST 7 1
WESTERN KENTUCKY 6 2
FAU 4 4
FIU 3 5
OLD DOMINION 2 6
CHARLOTTE 2 6
CUSA West W L
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 8 0
LOUISIANA TECH 5 3
UTEP 5 3
UTSA 1 7
RICE 1 7
NORTH TEXAS 1 7

Thoughts:

  • North Texas really only has 2 winnable games according to my calculations. Those games would be Rice and UTSA.
  • I believe North Texas will beat Rice and lose to UTSA.
  • Southern Miss is pretty lucky they get Marshall and La Tech at home. They also drew Charlotte and ODU.
  • UTSA is one of those teams that had 4 close games in the equation. Even though I went with 1 win, they could easily win 3 or 4.
  • UTEP had 5 games that could go either way. The Miners could end up winning the CUSA West division of finish in a similar spot as last year.
  • Western Kentucky may take a slight step back, but they still have plenty of talent and fairly easy schedule.
  • FAU is my surprise team in the East. They have a nasty defense.
Categories
CUSA Stuff Football

CUSA Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Fantasy football is fun, and most of us play it. However, most of us only play NFL fantasy football. Well fantasy football for college can be just as fun if not more fun. So I thought we should have a little fun on a Friday. Lets put together a fantasy football mock draft for CUSA only. I think this is much better than putting together an All Conference list. Below you’ll see the results of a 4 team fantasy football mock snake draft. Feel free to comment, critique, and criticize.

Team 1
QB Brent Stockstill, So., Middle Tennessee
RB Aaron Jones, Sr., UTEP
RB Alex Gardner, Jr., FIU
WR Taywan Taylor, Sr., WKU
WR Carlos Henderson, Jr., Louisiana Tech
WR Austin Duke, Sr., Charlotte
TE Kelvin Smith, Fr., North Texas
DEF Marshall
K Jay Mattox, Sr., UTEP

Thoughts:

  • Stockstill should be a fantasy machine under new OC Tony Franklin.
  • Jones returns after an injury kept him out last year. He should put up big numbers again behind a great OL.
  • Marshall is probably the best defense in CUSA.
  • Gardner is a bit of a sleeper. He had 246 (186 carries 60 receptions) touches last year.
  • Taylor is WKU’s best WR, but who is throwing him the ball?
  • Kelvin Smith?!? Well he did have a huge spring game for NT. He may see a huge number of targets for the Mean Green this year. Could be sleeper pick of the year.

Team 2
QB Nick Mullens, Sr., Southern Miss
RB Kalif Phillips, Sr., Charlotte
RB Jeffrey Wilson, Jr., North Texas
WR Trent Taylor, Sr., Louisiana Tech
WR Deon-Tay McManus, Jr., Marshall
WR Zach Wright, Sr., Rice
TE Hayden Plinke, Sr., UTEP
DEF Middle Tennessee
K Jonathan Barnes, Jr., Louisiana Tech

Thoughts:

  • Mullens didnt go first? Probably because he lost a lot of weapons, and his coaches.
  • Phillips and Wilson could have amazing years or they could struggle behind suspect OL’s.
  • Taylor is another WR who could suffer from his QB play. He still is a key COG in the Tech offense.
  • McManus should have a break-out year.
  • Plinke should benefit from Aaron Jones being back, and new QB Zach Greenlee.

Team 3
QB Chase Litton, So., Marshall
RB Ito Smith, Jr., Southern Miss
RB Jarveon Williams, Sr., UTSA
WR DJ Thompson Sr., Southern Miss
WR Tee Goree,So., North Texas
WR Nicholas Norris, Sr., WKU
TE Jonnu Smith, Sr., FIU
DEF Southern Miss
K Nick Smith, Jr., Marshall

Thoughts:

  • Smith and Williams are dynamic backs that will produce in the running game and passing game.
  • Thompson is set-up to be Mullens go-to target this year.
  • Goree is a sleeper. North Texas will throw the ball more so somebody has to catch’em.
  • Norris was a great get that late in the draft.
  • Jonnu Smith is the best TE in CUSA.

 


Team 4
QB Alex McGough, Jr., FIU
RB Ray Lawry, Jr., Old Dominion
RB Anthony Wales, Sr., WKU
WR Richie James, So., Middle Tennessee
WR Zach Pascal, Sr., Old Dominion
WR Kerry Thomas Jr. ,Jr., UTSA
TE Ryan Yurachek, Jr., Marshall
DEF FAU
K Trevor Moore Jr., North Texas

Thoughts:

  • After the 3 top QB’s were gone it was wise to get talent before taking a QB.
  • McGough was a safe pick.
  • McGough had a solid year last year, but there were other QBs who could put up bigger numbers.
  • James put up huge numbers last year, and should have a great year. POY candidate.
  • Wales may lose carries with Leon Allen back.
  • Lawry is the best player for ODU.
  • Thomas is and under the radar guy, who might have a huge year.
  • FAU could challenge Marshall for the best defense.

Full Draft

Selction Position Name
1 QB Brent Stockstill, So., Middle Tennessee
2 QB Nick Mullens, Sr., Southern Miss
3 RB Ito Smith, Jr., Southern Miss
4 WR Richie James, So., Middle Tennessee
5 RB Ray Lawry, Jr., Old Dominion
6 QB Chase Litton, So., Marshall
7 RB Kalif Phillips, Sr., Charlotte
8 RB Aaron Jones, Sr., UTEP
9 WR Taywan Taylor, Sr., WKU
10 WR Trent Taylor, Sr., Louisiana Tech
11 RB Jarveon Williams, Sr., UTSA
12 RB Anthony Wales, Sr., WKU
13 WR Zach Pascal, Sr., Old Dominion
14 WR DJ Thompson Sr., Southern Miss
15 RB Jeffrey Wilson, Jr., North Texas
16 RB Alex Gardner, Jr., FIU
17 WR Carlos Henderson, Jr., Louisiana Tech
18 WR Deon-Tay McManus, Jr., Marshall
19 TE Jonnu Smith, Sr., FIU
20 WR Kerry Thomas Jr. ,Jr., UTSA
21 TE Ryan Yurachek, Jr., Marshall
22 WR Nicholas Norris, Sr., WKU
23 TE Hayden Plinke, Sr., UTEP
24 WR Austin Duke, Sr., Charlotte
25 DEF Marshall
26 WR Zach Wright, Sr., Rice
27 WR Tee Goree,So., North Texas
28 DEF FAU
29 QB Alex McGough, Jr., FIU
30 DEF Southern Miss
31 K Jonathan Barnes, Jr., Louisiana Tech
32 TE Kelvin Smith, Fr., North Texas
33 K Jay Mattox, Sr., UTEP
34 DEF Middle Tennessee
35 K Nick Smith, Jr., Marshall
36 K Trevor Moore Jr., North Texas
Categories
Football

2016 Schedule Series: Florida

The Facts

Game Date & Time: Saturday, September 17th 6:30 PM

Venue: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

2015 Record: 10-4

Senior Starters: 7

% of Letterman Returning: 69.4%

% of Offensive Yards Returning: 53.6%

% of Tackles Returning: 58.7%

OL Career Starts:43

Previous Match-ups: North Texas won 20-12 in 1947

 

What you Need Know

Offense: Florida was rolling last year before QB Will Grier was suspended. They were undefeated under new HC Jim McElwain, and many thought they could challenge to win the SEC title. Florida went 4-4 the last 8 games, including a bowl game blowout at the hands of Michigan. In those 8 games Florida was only able to score 16.5 ppg which is 15 points less than they were averaging in the previous 6 games. Florida bolstered their QB position by adding 2 transfers, Austin Appleby (Purdue) and Luke Del Rio Jr. (Oregon St.). The OL in 2015 was one of the youngest in the nation. They allowed 3.1 sacks per game. That OL should be much improved this year, and should help contribute to a more successful offense. At RB Florida is looking to replace their leading rusher from 2015. They should see better production from the RB’s though with the improved OL. The Gators signed a very talented JUCO RB Mark Thompson (6-2, 242) who will be a thumper with speed. Florida doesn’t have a whole lot of production or explosiveness at the WR position. They lost 2 of their top 4 receiving targets.

Defense: Florida has always been known for their stingy defense. That will be no different this year. The defense is loaded with future NFL talent. They did lose a few stars from the 2015 team (Vernon Hargraves, Antonio Morrison and Alex McCalister), but the Gators may have the best secondary in the SEC. Florida lost its best LB and may have some depth issues. They signed 3 as part of the 2016 recruiting class. Its safe to assume that a couple of those guys will be playing against North Texas. On the DL Florida lost their top 2 sack guys, but have plenty of depth and talent to replace them.

Overall:  This Gator team will once again be relying on their defense to carry the team. If Del Rio or Appleby can improve play dramatically for the QB position this team could easily challenge Georgia and Tennessee for the SEC East title.

Players to Watch for

FS Marcus Maye & CB Jalen Tabor: Maye and Tabor are two outstanding pieces to an extremely talented Gator secondary. Both of these guys are All-Americans and could eventually be first round picks in the NFL Draft. Maye elected to return to Florida for his final season. Tabor is junior, and he recorded 4 INTs last year, returning 2 of those for TDs.

WR Antonio Callaway: Callaway set a true freshman school record with 3 100 yard games, and he led the team with 648 receiving yards. He also showed his skill as a dangerous return man, where he racked up 514 return yards and 2 TDs.

What are the Chances?

10% for Win

25% for a Game Within 10 Points

Some of y’all may say that’s too high, but Florida has one of most inexperienced teams in the country. They aren’t a juggernaut on offense with play makers lining up all over the field. I think you also have to consider when North Texas plays the Gators. They get them before a huge rivalry game. Florida plays Tennessee the following week. Last year Florida nearly lost to FAU in overtime a week before the Gators were to play their instate rivals Florida St. This will be Littrell’s first road game and what a doozy it will be. Having a guy like Alec Morris at the helm could really calm the nerves of the offense. While not actually getting game time in The Swamp, he has been to plenty of SEC venues as a part of Alabama. He knows what the SEC is all about, and the stage shouldn’t rattle Morris at all. The North Texas defense will likely struggle with the physical Florida running, and the offensive line will likely struggle with the good Florida DL. NT’s best chance to win or keep this game close is Alec Morris and the WR’s. The Air Raid passing game can be a great equalizer in games like this.

Categories
Basketball

North Texas to Keep Benford for Final Year of Contract. Foolish or Wise?

North Texas Athletic Director Rick Villarreal confirmed to our good man Brett Vito yesterday that Tony Benford will be the Mens Basketball Coach for the 2016-17 season. In the article Villarreal stated the following reasons for Benford staying on to coach the Mean Green:

“I met with the president and the decision was made that he has a five-year contract and that we will honor that five-year contract,” Villarreal said. “There are some people out there who doubt coach Benford, but we took into consideration the talent of the kids that he has coming back. We played every game with a starting five that had never played a game together before, have more than 90 percent of our scoring returning and are adding Keith Frazier.”

Lets examine those statements a little further. First thing that stands out to me is that Villarreal had to meet with the president about this situation. I know the President has to want a better basketball program. He couldn’t be happy with the attendance and product on the court the past 2 years. It still really inst clear what the relationship is between the President and AD. Is there some sort of power struggle going on between the 2? Word on the street is that several boosters may have voiced their concerns to the President about Benford returning to coach next year. Any way you spin it the relationship between Villarreal and President Smatresk is looking even muddier.

The next thing that stands out to me and, well actually infuriates me is how Villarreal stated that North Texas played with a starting five that had never played together. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a big believer in continuity, and building teams with 4 year players for Mid Majors. The Valpo’s, Northern Iowa’s, Wichita St’s, and Stephen F. Austin’s of the NCAA are built around 4 year guys who breakout in their JR and SR years. For Wichita St Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker have been around for awhile making a name. Thomas Walkup for SFA was a good player who got better each year at SFA, and had a tremendous tournament this year. Wes Washpun really had breakout seasons in his JR and SR years. Benford built his roster the opposite way of how other successful mid majors do it. Benford is directly responsible for putting a team on the floor that hadnt played together. Ever since his arrival the North Texas basketball roster has been in constant flux. There has been little to no consistency from year to year. It should not have been an excuse to keep Benford. No, in my opinion it was another reason for his dismissal.

Finally just because North Texas has a good amount of their players returning it doesnt mean that success should be guaranteed. I felt that Villarreal was stating that North Texas has enough talent to win on talent alone. That’s a bold statement about a team that just finished 9th in CUSA during a down year. Basically Villarreal and Benford believe that none of the CUSA teams ahead of them or behind them are going to improve. They must believe that no of those teams are returning any talent. Newsflash boys those other CUSA basketball programs arent sitting on their hands, they are getting better. Here is a little breakdown of teams I think are in a great position to be better than North Texas next year.

Middle Tennessee

Major Contributors Returning -1

Significant Contributors Returning – 3

3 out 5 Top Scorers

3 Starters

 

UAB

Major Contributors Returning  -1

Significant Contributors Returning  – 2

4 out 5 Top Scorers

4 Starters

 

ODU

Major Contributors Returning  -0

Significant Contributors Returning  – 1

1 out 3 Top Scorers

3 Starters

2 3* Recruits Signed LOI

2 2* Recruits Signed LOI

 

Marshall

Major Contributors Returning  -1

Significant Contributors Returning  – 2

4 out 5 Top Scorers

4 Starters

 

La Tech

Major Contributors Returning  -1

Significant Contributors Returning  – 0

3 out 5 Top Scorers

4 Starters

 

UTEP

Major Contributors Returning  -1

Significant Contributors Returning  –2

4 out 5 Top Scorers

4 Starters

 

Charlotte

Major Contributors Returning  -0

Significant Contributors Returning  –3

4 out 5 Top Scorers

4 Starters

1 3* Recruit Signed LOI

 

WKU

Major Contributors Returning  -0

Significant Contributors Returning  –1

2 out 5 Top Scorers

3 Starters (4th starter Fredrick Edmond is suspended)

 

Rice

Go-to-guys Returning  – 1

Major Contributors Returning  – 1

Significant Contributors Returning  –1

5 out 5 Top Scorers

4 Starters

2 3* Recruits Signed LOI

 

North Texas

Major Contributors – 1

Significant Contributors –3

4 out 5 top Scores

5 Starters

1 2* Recruit Signed LOI

 

Yes North Texas has a good amount of scoring and talent returning, but these other teams are also returning talent. These other teams are also adding good recruits as well. The talent on these others teams is in most cases better than what North Texas has. Also these other teams have better coaches. It proves that the way North Texas is currently thinking is flawed big time.

Most North Texas fans were led to believe that Benford had to win this past season. He had to show progress on the court in order to keep his job. I’d like for the athletic department to show me the progress. I know exactly what they would tell me too. They’d point towards the improved offensive numbers. Okay thats good, but what about the defense? The Mean Green’s defensive efficiency number has not been above 110 since before Johnny Jones took the job. You’d have to look back before to 2001-02 to find a worse defensive efficient team for North Texas. Most importantly the better offensive numbers did not translate into wins.

Well then it must have been that tough schedule North Texas faced this year. Folks North Texas out of conference strength of schedule ranked 293rd this year out of 351 teams. That is the easiest out of conference schedule since Benford’s arrival. The overall strength of schedule was ranked 247th which was the second easiest schedule since Benford was hired. The easiest was 2012-13 which ranked 251st. Ironically North Texas only won 12 games in each of those years. Benford built his schedule this year to win easy games. He must have felt the ghost pressure of having to win.

Im sure another excuse out there is that Johnny Jones took time to get it going too at North Texas. Well for one Jones didnt inherit a solid roster that was picked to win the conference like Benford did. Secondly JJ’s teams didnt take a dip in the W column like Benford’s just did. Yes Jones dipped from 13 to 5 wins his second year, but after that his teams kept getting better. Benford plateaued in year 2 with 16 wins. Since then his teams have gotten worse.

It is my opinion that North Texas is making a foolish decision by keeping Benford. I dont see any reason for keeping the coach. It sends a signal to students, alumni, and fans that the North Texas Mens Basketball is a dead program. It sends out the message that failure is acceptable at North Texas. It just backs up the article written by the Texas Tribune stating that North Texas is spending millions of dollars on losing.

When exactly will we see some accountability within the North Texas athletic department?

 

Tony Benford Teams By the Numbers

YearStatNational RankYearStatNational Rank
WinsLosses
201312
201320
201416
201416
201514201517
201612201620
Offensive EfficiencyDefensive Efficiency
201394.92792013104229
201498.92712014104.3158
201597.42662015104198
2016100.12402016111.4317
Offensive 2pt % Defensive 2pt %
201344.9278201345.387
201444.8317201447113
201547.8166201548.1178
201649.8124201652.7316
Offensive 3pt % Defensive 3pt %
201328.6334201335.7260
2014
34.2175201435.5243
201529.9326201534.2171
201632.2281201636.2259
Minutes Continuity*
201360.7%96
201437.6%282
201543.9%223
201616.8%346
Minutes Continuity Description- It’s determining what percentage of a team’s minutes are played by the same player from last season to this season
Categories
Basketball

CUSA Basketball Tournament Talk

North Texas enters postseason play as they prepare to play Western Kentucky in the CUSA tournament. Lots of questions surround this team going into this tournament.

  • Is Jeremy Combs healthy enough to play?
  • Can North Texas fix their defensive issues?
  • Will the road woes continue?

The match-up with Western Kentucky presents its issues as well. First off North Texas is 1-4 all time against WKU in tournament play. It always seems like the Hilltopers have NTs number. Secondly Western Kentucky’s offensive efficiency (148) ranks much higher than NT’s defensive efficiency(308). Thats been the story all year for North Texas. They haven’t been able to get stops when they needed it. To many defensive lapses, poor fundamentals, and communication issues. The communication issues stem from not playing that long together as a team. Finally with Combs not being a 100% who will step up to stop Justin Johnson? Combs held Johnson semi in check last game out, but WKU’s leading scorer could be matched up with FR Allante Holston. Holston is a decent defender, but he wont be able to stop Johnson in the post.  Losing Combs or even having a limited Combs could also hurt North Texas on the defensive glass. WKU dominated the offensive boards last time out. It was NTs worst defensive rebounding effort of the season. The Mean Green gave up 17 offensive boards while only getting 20 defensive rebounds.

Tony Benford and Ray Harper are both likely coaching for their jobs. Both have talented teams. Now it comes down which coach can get his guys to execute at a higher level. Harper is 9-2 in conference tourneys, while Benford has won only one game. As bad as the match-up may seem they still have to play the game. North Texas could shock some folks. It has been the national trend lately for upsets in conference tournaments. Maybe Tony Benford can pick up his second postseason win and start this Mean Green basketball team on a run.

CUSA Tournament Predictions

Bracket Predictions

FIRST ROUND

Game 1: FAU vs UTSA

  • Previous Match-ups: 86-81 FAU; 79-73 FAU
  • Thoughts: UTSA is one of the worst teams in the country. FAU should win this game easily. Although never discount how tough it is for a team to beat an opponent 3 times in a row. Still though the Owls shouldnt have a problem.
  • Winner: FAU

SECOND ROUND

Game 2: WKU vs North Texas

  • Previous Match-ups: 81-76 WKU; UAB 71-67
  • Thoughts: Even with Jeremy Combs this would be a tough match-up for NT. I just dont see how Tony Benford who has won only postseason tourney game since his arrival at North Texas can win against WKU.
  • Winner: WKU

Game 3: ODU vs FAU

  • Previous Match-ups: 78-66 ODU;
  • Thoughts: I actually think ODU has under performed this year. That being said Trey Freeman and the Monarchs suffocating defense should lead to a double digit victory for ODU.
  • Winner: ODU

Game 4: Charlotte vs Rice

  • Previous Match-ups: 102-73 Char; 88-75 Char
  • Thoughts: Even though Charlotte lost last week to a North Texas team minus its best player, Im still picking them to win. Charlotte is a good offensive team, and Rice is a very poor defensive team. The Owls rank 343 in defensive efficiency. Charlotte should win easily.
  • Winner: Charlotte

Game 5: UTEP vs FIU

  • Previous Match-ups: 79-69 FIU; 84-74 UTEP
  • Thoughts: FIU and UTEP are pretty evenly matched on paper. FIU has been a better road team. This game should be really close and could go either way. Im picking FIU to pull the upset.
  • Winner: FIU

QUARTERFINALS

Game 6: UAB vs WKU

  • Previous Match-ups: 69-62 WKU; 71-67 UAB
  • Thoughts: While watching theses other Mid Major conferences Im noticing the fact that 1 seeds are really struggling. I wouldnt be surprised to see that trend continue in CUSA. WKU hasn’t been consistent throughout out the year, but they do match-up well with UAB. WKU is the only team besides La Tech to beat UAB. This is my first major upset of the CUSA tourney.
  • Winner: WKU

Game 7: La Tech vs ODU

  • Previous Match-ups: 56-53 La Tech
  • Thoughts: This is a tough one to pick. I really like both these teams, and feel that either one can make a deep run in the CUSA tourney. ODU plays really good defense, but there offense can be a bit reliant on Freeman. I’m going with Tech, because they are more of a balanced team. The Bulldogs rank in the top 4 of CUSA offensive and defensive efficiency.
  • Winner: La Tech

Game 8: MTSU vs Charlotte

  • Previous Match-ups: 73-72 MTSU
  • Thoughts: The Blue Raiders are kind of under the radar. Many folks who follow CUSA think MTSU could be an early exit. As long as MTSU doesnt get drawn into a free throw contest they should win. MTSU is ranked 349 out of 351 in free throw %.
  • Winner: MTSU

Game 9: Marshall vs FIU

  • Previous Match-ups: 99-81 Marshall
  • Thoughts: Marshall has faded down the stretch winning only 2 of their last 5 games. Four of those 5 where against the top teams in CUSA. Marshall is CUSA’s top offensive team. I think they should be able to easily outscore FIU. It should be a high scoring affair.
  • Winner: Marshall

SEMIFINALS

Game 10: WKU vs La Tech

  • Previous Match-ups: 96-90 WKU
  • Thoughts: WKU just beat Tech in the last regular season game. The Bulldogs had a tough time stopping WKU’s Aaron Crosby who went for 34 pts. Tech also couldnt hold onto a 4 pt lead with 38 seconds left in the game. I think on a neutral floor Tech comes out as a winner.
  • Winner: La Tech

Game 11: MTSU vs Marshall

  • Previous Match-ups:82-66 Marshall; 83-74 MTSU
  • Thoughts: Two CUSA stars Reggie Upshaw and James Kelly will battle in this one. Marshall blew MTSU out early in CUSA play, but MTSU has played better down the stretch. Im going with MTSU and their defense to edge the Thundering Herd.
  • Winner: MTSU

FINALS

Game 12: La Tech vs MTSU

  • Previous Match-ups:La Tech 73-63
  • Thoughts: Since the begining of January Tech has been on a trend where they lose one then win 3 or 4 in a row. Well they just ended the season with a loss so now its time for a winning streak. Besides UAB I think that Tech is the most balanced team in CUSA. I think they should be able to handle MTSU and claim the CUSA tourney bid.
  • Winner: La Tech


Week 16 Results

Old Dominion L, 76-70

Charlotte W, 80-77

Week 15 Offensive MVP – G Eric Katenda

Week 15 Defensive MVP – F Deckie Johnson


Upcoming Game Information

North Texas vs. WKU

Time: March 9, 2016 12:00 pm CT

Location: Legacy Arena Birmingham, AL

TV: ASN; Streaming Online link

Radio: 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM

North Texas Backcourt
VS.
WKU Backcourt
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Frontcourt
VS.
WKU Front Court
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Coaching
VS.
WKU Coaching
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas
WKU
61
Offensive Rating
76
52
Defensive Rating
62
Prediction
WKU81
North Texas69

 


CUSA Power Rankings

Ranking
Team
MGN Rating
Overall Record
Conference Record
1
UAB
91
26-5
16-2
2
MIDDLE TENNESSE ST
78
21-9
13-5
3
LOUISIANA TECH
76
23-8
12-6
4
OLD DOMINION
75
19-12
12-6
5
MARSHALL
72
16-15
12-6
6
WESTERN KENTUCKY
68
16-15
8-10
7
CHARLOTTE
60
13-18
9-9
8
FIU
50
13-18
7-11
9
UTEP
49
18-13
10-8
10
RICE
38
12-19
7-11
11
NORTH TEXAS
32
12-19
7-11
12
FAU
28
7-24
5-13
13
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
27
8-21
5-13
14
UTSA
19
5-26
3-15

Categories
Basketball

Basketball Talk: Week 16

North Texas will try to rebound from two disappointing road losses this week as they take on Old Dominion and Charlotte. Both of those conference foes have already defeated the Mean Green in away games. Tony Benford is hoping that the current 4 game home winning streak will be extended to 6 as the regular season comes to a close. It wont be an easy task for North Texas. ODU held the Mean Green to under 50 points in their previous match-up. Charlotte on the other hand had an offensive explosion against North Texas. The 49’ers put up over 100 points. Maybe the friendly confines of the Super Pit will be enough to reverse the fortunes of those games.

North is searching for hope as they head into a tough CUSA Tournament. Any reason to have confidence in your teams ability at this time of year is a good thing. However with North Texas they’ve really only been able to play well at home, and the CUSA Tournament isn’t in Denton this year. North Texas is very likely going to be a double digit seed in the CUSA Tournament this year. As a double digit seed they are likely to face a team that they haven’t beaten this year. Its looking like another one and done year for Benford.

5 Questions

Does Benford Deserve Another Year?

NO. Its pretty simple in my eyes. You can argue all you want about how he has brought in some talented players, but the results aren’t there. He has been given ample time to show that he can build his program. He hasn’t produced or even showed progress. I’m not saying Benford isn’t a good guy. I’m saying that Benford isn’t cut out to be a head coach. He is a solid recruiter not a program builder. He was given the keys to an up and coming Mid Major program, and has yet to even put the key in the ignition. My biggest concern as I’ve echoed before is how he is trying to build this program. The transfers and roster turnover is not how you build a solid Mid Major program. Its time for North Texas to move on. Its time for March to mean something again around here.

Can a CUSA team can win a game in the NCAA Tournament?

UAB pulled off quite a shocker last year against Iowa St, but I’m not so sure CUSA has a team good enough this year to win  a game. Sure the big time analyst are predicting some real madness this year, but I don’t think a CUSA team will be the one causing the madness.

To storm the court or not?

At least once or twice every year after a court storming event a college coach will tell the media something needs to be done. This year Arizona’s Sean Miller went as far to say that one of his players may punch a fan. I’m pretty sure that some of those court storming fans would be deserving. Lets be honest some of those fans are classless and just plain dicks. Those one off fans shouldn’t ruin the moment for the rest of the sane fans who are just enjoying an epic upset. I wish there was a way to protect the players and coaches of the opposing team while the fans still got to celebrate. Also not everyone should be court storming. Blue Blood programs like North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas should never have a court storming. If your a team favored over a higher ranked team you shouldn’t storm the court. Also if your ranked in the top 25 and the opposing team is ranked too, but higher you still shouldn’t storm the court.

Should Mid Major conferences change their format to allow the regular season winner a better shot at getting in?

I love this time of year, because almost every team has a shot to make the big dance. There are a couple of times when you hear “the NCAA Tournament field should be expanded.” No it shouldn’t, because the conference tournaments are the extension. Yes sometimes dark horses come out of no where to snatch a bid, and then the best overall team in the conference ends up in the NIT. But that’s the beauty of these tournaments. It makes for exciting intense basketball. You better bring your A game in these tournaments or your going home. It allows for teams to grow through the regular season and become dangerous opponents in Tournaments. I don’t want to see it changed, because I’ve always been a fan of it. One year my spring break was during the conference tournament week, and I think I watched over 100 games. It was just so much fun. I would understand why mid majors would make the change, but I hope it doesn’t happen.

Which Mid Major program can make a run this year in the NCAA Tournament?

The tournament is always about match-ups. That’s what makes it really intriguing, because there are so many different styles. This year there aren’t a lot of really great teams so numerous mid major programs could end up making runs. It could be like the 2011 tournament where an 8 seed Bulter and 11 seed VCU made the Final Four. So which Mid Major teams should we watch out for this year? Well I like Wichita St. The Shockers by some calculations are on the bubble if they don’t win the Missouri Valley. I’d still look out for them, because they boast the nations best defense, have experience, and have guys who’ve made big plays in March before. Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker are great senior leaders. Valparaiso is a team I really like. The Crusaders like Wichita St are a tough defensive team and have all their key players from last years team who almost upset Maryland. Valpo could end up being one of those vaunted 12 seeds. Finally I will mention Arkansas Little Rock. Of course we all remember these guys who broke our hearts the last time North Texas had a good team. Yes these Trojans are a legitimately good team. Very balanced on offense and defense. Arkansas Little Rock could also be a dangerous 12 seed.

 

 

Home vs Away Numbers

Offense
 
Defense
Efficiency
Efficiency
Home
Away
Home
Away
108 (91st)
96 (313th)
101(120th)
117 (349th)
Effective FG %
Effective FG %
Home
Away
Home
Away
53% (48th)
48% (263rd)
49% (111th)
57% (349th)
2PT FG %
2PT FG %
Home
Away
Home
Away
53% (29th)
49% (168th)
46% (76th)
57% (349th)
3PT FG %
3PT FG %
Home
Away
Home
Away
36% (120th)
30% (334th)
35% (191st)
37% (302nd)
Home Record10-6Away Record1-12
*Number in parentheses equals where the value would rank nationally

 

Week 15 Results

Louisiana Tech L, 73-62

Southern Miss L, 81-70

Week 15 Offensive MVP – G J-Mychal Reese

Week 15 Defensive MVP – F Jeremy Combs


Upcoming Game Information

North Texas vs. ODU

Time: March 3, 2016 7:00 pm CT

Location: The Super Pit, Denton, TX

TV: Mean Green All Access Webcast

Radio: 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM

North Texas Backcourt
VS.
ODU Backcourt
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Frontcourt
VS.
ODU Front Court
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Coaching
VS.
ODU Coaching
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas
ODU
63
Offensive Rating
72
51
Defensive Rating
78
Prediction
ODU65
North Texas58

North Texas vs. Charlotte

Time: March 5, 2016 7:00 pm CT

Location: The Super Pit, Denton, TX

TV: Mean Green All Access Webcast

Radio: 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM

North Texas Backcourt
VS.
Charlotte Backcourt
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Frontcourt
VS.
Charlotte Front Court
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Coaching
VS.
Charlotte Coaching
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas
Charlotte
63
Offensive Rating
72
51
Defensive Rating
62
Prediction
Charlotte84
North Texas81

CUSA Power Rankings

Ranking
Team
MGN Rating
Overall Record
Conference Record
1
UAB
91
24-5
14-2
2
MIDDLE TENNESSE ST
77
19-9
11-5
3
MARSHALL
75
15-14
11-5
4
LOUISIANA TECH
74
22-7
11-5
5
OLD DOMINION
73
17-12
10-6
6
CHARLOTTE
67
12-17
8-8
7
UTEP
63
17-13
9-8
8
WESTERN KENTUCKY
61
14-15
6-10
9
FIU
49
13-16
7-9
10
RICE
45
12-17
7-9
11
NORTH TEXAS
31
11-18
6-10
12
FAU
29
7-22
5-11
13
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
25
8-19
5-11
14
UTSA
19
5-25
3-14

MGN Projected CUSA Tourney Bracket

Categories
Basketball

Basketball Talk: Week 15

  • North Texas was able to bounce back from 2 ugly road losses to capture 2 nice home victories against the Florida schools. Deckie Johnson put on a show in both victories. When Johnson is shooting the ball well UNT becomes a hard team to beat. He will need to continue his hot streak on the road against La. Tech and Southern Miss this week. North Texas has won only one game on the road this year. The Mean Green has played well at times on the road, but have yet to put together a full game. The Southern Miss game is probably the best chance for a road game victory. Southern Miss ranks last in conference offense efficiency and 11th in defensive efficiency. North Texas beat USM by 16 points back on February 4th. The Louisiana Tech game looks more daunting. Tech ranks 1st in the conference when it comes to defensive efficiency and is 14-1 at home this year. Beating Southern Miss may end up being the difference in North Texas getting into that 8 vs 9 matchup in the conference tourney.
  • This is the best offensive team Benford has had since his arrival to North Texas. The offensive efficiency is up. Shooting percentages and assist percentages are up. Its not hard to see why either. This team can score in the post and is getting good production from the guards. Jeremy Combs is having a really solid sophomore campaign. Reese has stabilized the PG position. Katenda has been better than a lot of fans thought he would be. I thought the offensive side of the would look better this year, but it still looks disorganized at times. A lot of that can be attributed to this group of guys not playing with each other that long. I’ve always thought that the best mid major teams are composed of 4 year guys. Guys who’ve grown in the program. I believe that the way Benford is trying to build winner can be done, but not without elite level talent. Look at two good mid major teams like Davidson and Valpo. Those two teams are in the top 10 in having players that played minutes play the same amount of minutes this year. North Texas is in the bottom 10. Now I’m not saying to not improve the roster. I just wish there was more roster continuity with North Texas.
  • But even with the increased offensive production the wins haven’t come. They haven’t come because the defense has been atrocious at times. According to KenPom.com this has been Benford’s worst defensive efficiency team during his tenure. Looking at the numbers you will find that North Texas is allowing their opponents to shoot above 50% inside the 3 pt line and above 36% beyond it. Okay so why has it been to so bad? Well defense is about fundamentals and mentality. Not everyone can score, but everyone should be able to defend. I’ve seen plenty of poor fundamentals when watching this team defend.  I’ve seen how they defend passes with the wrong hand. Going for the steal instead of deflecting the ball. I’ve seen how this team struggles with rotation. How they struggle with keeping their man in front of them.  I don’t like the 2-3 zone at all. If you’re going to be a good zone team, you have to be very active with your hands and feet. I just don’t see that with this team. All the top defensive teams in the country are man to man teams, which is what I want North Texas to be.

Week 14 Results

FIU W, 77-75

FAU W, 70-62

Week 14 Offensive MVP – G Deckie Johnson

Week 14 Defensive MVP – F Eric Katenda


 

Upcoming Game Information

North Texas vs. Louisiana Tech

Time: February 25, 2015 8:00 pm CT

Location: Thomas Assembly Center, Ruston LA

TV: ASN

Radio: 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM

North Texas Backcourt
VS.
La. Tech Backcourt
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Frontcourt
VS.
La. Tech Front Court
Symbol 2
Edge
North Texas Coaching
VS.
La. Tech Coaching
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas
La. Tech
63
Offensive Rating
75
51
Defensive Rating
73
Prediction
La. Tech 85
North Texas70

 

North Texas vs. Southern Miss

Time: February 27, 2015 7:00 pm CT

Location: Reed Green Coliseum, Hattiesburg, MS

TV: 

Radio: 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM

North Texas Backcourt
VS.
Southern Miss Backcourt
Symbol 2
Edge
North Texas Frontcourt
VS.
Southern Miss Front Court
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas Coaching
VS.
Southern Miss Coaching
Edge
Symbol 2
North Texas
Southern Miss
63
Offensive Rating
40
51
Defensive Rating
66
Prediction
Southern Miss72
North Texas69

CUSA Power Rankings

Ranking
Team
MGN Rating
Overall Record
Conference Record
1
UAB
91
22-5
12-2
2
MARSHALL
83
15-12
11-3
3
MIDDLE TENNESSE ST
78
18-8
13-5
4
LOUISIANA TECH
76
20-7
11-7
5
UTEP
75
17-11
10-8
6
OLD DOMINION
74
15-12
8-6
7
CHARLOTTE
65
10-17
6-8
8
WESTERN KENTUCKY
59
13-14
5-9
9
FIU
49
12-16
6-9
10
RICE
42
11-16
6-8
11
NORTH TEXAS
33
11-16
6-8
12
FAU
30
7-21
5-10
13
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
24
7-18
4-10
14
UTSA
18
5-23
3-12

 


MGN Projected CUSA Tourney Bracket

Bracket Projection

Categories
Football

2016 Pre Spring QB Evaluation

 

 

Position Grade: C-

Depth Grade: F

New Comers: Alec Morris (Grad Transfer), Mason Fine (HS)

Returning:  Connor Means (JR), Caleb Chumley (FR), DaMarcus Smith (SR), Quinn Shanbour (JR)

 

 

It’s another year and another spring QB competition for the Mean Green. Ever since Derek Thompson’s departure, UNT has been searching for a QB to stabilizing the position. This year the battle will look a lot different. These QBs will battle for the starting role in a QB friendly offense. Graduate transfer Alec Morris is the clear front runner. Morris was buried on the Alabama depth chart and was looking to move back closer to his home.   Morris isn’t a guy defined as a play maker, but rather a guy that will make the right reads and protect the ball. He played in a similar style offense in high school. His high school tape along with an endorsement from the Bama coaches made Morris enticing to Littrell.

 

The real competition at the position may come for who is going to back up Morris. DaMarcus Smith showed promise last year, but really struggled with accuracy issues. Some would view him as a wild card in the QB competition. If Smith can grasp the new offense and improve his accuracy issues he could then end up challenging Morris for the starting role. Connor Means has remained a mystery for most of his time here at North Texas. Means flashed some ability in spring practices and games, but has yet to play in a live game. It was quite shocking to me that Means didn’t at least get a shot last year. He certainly couldn’t do any worse than what we witnessed last year. The intriguing part of Means game is his gunslinger mentality. He seemed to have a moxy about him that made me believe he was a gamer. Now Means doesn’t possess great arm strength or accuracy, but maybe he will flourish under new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.

 

Quinn Shanbour is another mystery. A lot of fans have clamored for him after his performance in last year’s spring game. Let’s make one thing clear, if Shanbour has enough talent to be the starter at North Texas then this staff will give him his chance. This staff doesn’t care about size, they care about talent. That became clear with the recruitment of Mason Fine. Fine is small, but can play the game. His stats back that up. He also spent his high school career playing in an offense similar to the one that North Texas will run next year. That being said, Im not sold on Fine being a threat in the 2016 QB battle though. He won’t arrive on campus till the fall, and he really needs a year in a college strength program. Still it will be fun and interesting to watch his development at North Texas.

 

Overall I gave this position group a C- and F for depth because Morris is an unknown and there are a ton of question marks with the guys behind him. Smith actually has more game time than Morris, but can he function in an Air Raid offense? Other than those 2 who could Littrell and Harrell turn to? Of course Morris could come in and light it up like Sokol and Driskel did at La Tech.  That is the best case scenario for this group. Worst case let’s not even discuss that.

 

 

2016 North Texas Pre-Spring QB Player Ratings

NameHeightWeightYearOverall Rating
Alex Morris6-3 211SR77
DaMarcus Smith6-1216SR70
Connor Means6-4215JR68
Mason Fine5-10170FR69
Quinn Shanbour6-0191JR67
Caleb Chumley6-5240FR64
Categories
Football

2016 North Texas Football Schedule Early Thoughts

 

2016 Schedule

 

Thoughts:

  • Glad there is no bye week in week one. Although we already knew this, its still nice to see. The bye week is conveniently located in the middle of the year this season.
  • Welcome back 6 home games. Always nice to see.
  • Basically its last year’s CUSA schedule flipped. In my opinion that’s lazy work on the part of CUSA.
  • No matter how you look at it this schedule its tough, and I mean really tough.
  • The 4 game stretch of @Florida, @Rice, MTSU, and Marshall looks brutal. But wait there is another 4 game stretch of La Tech, @ WKU, Southern Miss, and @UTEP that looks just as tough.
  • The home game against SMU is crucial. A win there and North Texas starts off 2-0 going into the SWAMP.
  • Speaking of the SWAMP and Florida that should be a fun road trip. Lets hope they dont schedule that at like 11 am with the Florida humidity. Also hope for no hurricanes.
  • I dont believe anyone has as tough of a conference schedule as North Texas does. The Mean Green get to face every CUSA bowl team from 2015, no other team does.
  • WAY WAY to early prediction  – I see 6 winnable games.