North Texas Mean Green vs. Old Dominion Monarchs
Date: February 28, 2015
Time: 4:30 pm CT
Location: Denton, TX The SUPER PIT
Line: ODU -5
TV:American Sports Network
Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM
All-Time Series: ODU Leads 2-0
NT and ODU come into Saturdays match-up on multiple game winning streaks. For NT its been a 5 game ride that has fans believing this Mean Green team has turned a corner. For ODU its been a 3 game winning streak that has the Monarchs feeling like they are ready to make a run through the CUSA tourney. This game should be a fun match-up to watch. The big story line is for NT and if can they continue to beat heavy favorites at home. NT is 5-2 as a home underdog.
UNT O vs ODU D
ODU makes their living with defense. Their man to man defense is going to get right up in the grills of NT. Overall ODU is one the most fundamentally sound defenses in college basketball. UNT will have to be strong with the ball and use crisp passes. To beat ODU NT is going to have to be fluid and run smooth offensive possessions. Its very likely that NT wont get many open looks. That translates to pounding the boards and getting as many second looks as they can. For NT this winning streak has been about making shots. Every offense looks good when the ball is going into the bucket. Taylor, Voss, Harris, and Aniefiok all need to continue to add production to whatever Jordan Williams puts in. Those guys that we mentioned open the floor and create better spacing when they are knocking down shots.
UNT D vs ODU O
ODU’s offense is a grinder offense. They only average about 63 possessions a game which ranks 332 in the country. They rely on a dribble drive motion. Lots of passes off the dribble drive to get an open look for a teammate. ODU is one of the top assist teams in CUSA. The other part of their offense that has to be a concern for NT is the fast break off of TOs. Like we mentioned early ODU is really good on D. They will run when they get a TO, and they are very good on the fast break too. NT wasn’t too bad last time out against ODU they held the Monarchs to 30% shooting from inside the arch. However, ODU was deadly from 3pt range making 10 3’s and hitting on 42% of their attempts. ODU got lots of looks off that dribble penetration.
Key Personnel Match-up:
Trey Freeman vs. T.J Taylor/UNT Zone
Another prime time guard walks into the Super Pit. Freeman is the key COG in ODUs offense. Freeman is averaging 16.4 ppg, and 3.5 assists in CUSA play. He is used on 28% of ODUs possessions and takes 31% of ODUs shots. Also take note that Freeman doesnt turn it over. He is a solid guard and going to be a tough match up for NT.
Keys to the Game:
- Force TO’s/Aggressive D. ODU is normally a good team at protecting the ball. UNT forced 14 TOs last time. If UNT could get close to that number in this game it would be a big boost.
- Defensive Rebounds. Last time out UNT gave up 19 offensive rebounds to ODU.
- Push the Tempo. ODU is a great halfcourt defensive team. UNT would be wise to try and push the ball to get easy baskets.
- Attack the Rim. ODU’s D is an aggressive man to man D. UNT has to attack the rim and get to the free throw line.
TEAMRANKINGS: ODU 71 – UNT 66
numberFire: ODU 66 – UNT 59
Mean Green Nation Basketball Analyst: UNT 68 – ODU 65
This maybe the best team NT faces down the stretch of the regular season. ODU is a really good basketball team. I believe they are one of the best 68 teams in the country. The Monarchs were close to being one of the teams that may get an at large bid, but some unforeseen conference loses late January and early February set them back. Now it looks like they are getting back on track. They beat 2 bad teams on their 3 game winning streak and also beat down conference leader La Tech by 19 points. NT will have its hands full no doubt, but they are ready for this battle. They are playing better basketball than anyone in CUSA right now. They relish the home underdog roll. Its senior night. All signs other than statistics point to UNT winning this one. I’ve also said its tough to win on the road in conference play. That’s why I’m picking NT to win its 6th in a row.
Go Mean Green!