North Texas Mean Green vs. Charlotte 49ers
Date: February 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm CT
Location: Denton, TX The SUPER PIT
Line: Charlotte -2.5
Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM
All-Time Series: Charlotte Leads 3-1
UNT is absolutely playing their best basketball of the year. One could even argue this is the best basketball we’ve seen under head coach Tony Benford. That is good news, because you want to be playing your best ball as the conference tourney approaches. Tonight the Mean Green take on the Charlotte 49ers. The 49ers beat NT last time around 73-57. It was a game that saw NT lose its cool and collapse down the stretch. This is a different NT team than the one back in January. Charlotte is very talented, but have had a disappointing year. They were picked to finish 3rd in the conference. So don’t let their record fool you. Charlotte has the ability to play at a high level. This is a huge game for both teams. Charlotte wants to position themselves to make a run heading up to the CUSA tourney. Charlotte could very well win out if they win tonight. NT is looking to keep the good times rolling. The Mean Green want to extend their winning streak and send Mean Green Hall of Fame play by play man George Dunham off with a victory.
UNT O vs Charlotte D
UNT is playing really well on offense, let me tell you its fun to watch. Lots of things have fallen into place for UNT to be playing so well. Two guys have raised their level of play and that is T.J Taylor and Colin Voss. Voss with his mid range jumper and passing ability has opened up the floor. Taylor is healthy and providing an extra scoring threat. During this 4 game win streak he is averaging 10.5 points a game. Charlotte is not a very good defensive team. UNT should be able to attack in them in the post with Voss and Combs. No way do they hold NT to 30% FG shooting again.
UNT D vs Charlotte O
Charlotte may not be good on defense, but they make up for it with their offense. They have one of the most efficient offenses in CUSA. The 49ers are very balanced and don’t rely heavily on one player. Pierria Henry is an all conference caliber PG. Guards Torin Dorn, Terrance Williams, and Braxton Ogbueze can light you up from downtown. All 3 of those guys are shooting the 3 over 40%. They aren’t very deep in the post, but Willie Clayton and Mike Thorne Jr. can do damage. Overall expected Charlotte to attack NT with a 4 guard lineup for most of the night. Thats the type of line-up that could give NT plenty of troubles because it will force Voss or Combs to matchup up with a guard. Most likely it will be Combs matched up with a guard when NT goes man to man. I definitely see the Mean Green using their zone tonight. Only problem maybe Charlotte’s ability to move the ball. They are a great passing team and lead CUSA in assist per game. UNT did turn the 49ers over 14 times in their last meeting.
Key Personnel Match-up:
Pierra Henry vs. T.J Taylor/UNT Zone
Henry had a monster game against UNT last time out. He racked up 21 points, 7 boards, 4 assist, and 2 blocks. Henry is second in CUSA in assist per game 5.9. This guy long athletic and sets tone for this 49er team. He is not a great shooter, but a good driver. Got to keep him out of the lane when UNT goes zone.
Keys to the Game:
- Force TO’s/Aggressive D. Attacking the passing lanes will be key for NT to slow down the 49er offense. Its one of the reasons NT had a lead against Charlotte last time.
- Pound the Paint. Last time out against Charlotte Voss and Combs had the best offensive rating of anybody on the team.
- Make FT’s. Both of these teams arent very good at the FT line. Close games are won and lost at the FT line.
- Defensive Rebounds. Charlotte is a good offensive rebounding team. You have to keep good offensive teams from having multiple looks. One and done.
TEAMRANKINGS: Charlotte 68 – UNT 65
numberFire: Charlotte 70 – UNT 69
Mean Green Nation Basketball Analyst: UNT 76 – Charlotte 73
I’m going against Vegas and picking the Mean Green to win this one. NT just has the look of a team on a mission right now. When a team comes in playing as well as NT is right now you just dont pick against them. You have to look away from the stats and look at how a team is playing at this time of the year. Yes Charlotte is playing well, but NT is playing better. NT is playing at home and they are the underdog. The last couple of away favorties that have walked into the Pit haven’t left on a happy note. I think that trend continues tonight.
This is the biggest game of the season for NT so far. It should be one where the atmosphere inside the SUPER PIT is electric. The student section should be packed. There should be a few more alumni/causal fans in attendance to honor the great George Dunham. This game has all the potential to be something special. Yet I’m a bit skeptical that it wont be the atmosphere that I’m hoping for or the one that this team deserves. If you can please put all your differences with the HC and AD aside and make it out tonight. If your a student grab your friends and anybody you can find. If your an alumni grab your wife/husband, grab your kids, grab your friends, hell grab random people. Do whatever you can to make this a special night for the players and our great George Dunham.
Go Mean Green!