Dropping Dimes – 10 Thoughts Recapping NT vs. Nebraska

North Texas lost 86-67 on the road last night to Nebraska.

  1. Nebraska started the game on a 25-2 run,  North Texas could never get settled in and couldn’t get any easy looks at the basket early.
  2. Points off of turnovers was the second biggest disparity in the box score. Nebraska had 30 and North Texas had 8. Quite honestly that’s what led to such a big run early on for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were locked in defensively and made life difficult for the UNT guards. Turnovers and bad shots led to easy buckets for Nebraska.
  3. The biggest disparity in the box score was the free throw attempts. Nebraska had 47 and UNT only had 18. It may seem like North Texas was just relying on the outside shot and wasn’t being aggressive, but that’s not the case. UNT was aggressive, its just that Nebraska got the majority of the calls. As I highlighted in the preview for this game I was concerned with NT’s aggressive defensive nature on the perimeter. It was an issue. The refs called the game very close. Nothing you can really do about it, its going to happen.
  4. Regardless of the score or the homer refs, this Mean Green basketball team battled. The effort was clearly there, it was the execution that was lacking. Perhaps going from facing a D3 school to a high major school was the issue. I tend to lean towards believing that these guys aren’t quite comfortable playing with each other yet.
  5. Anytime you run a version of the motion offense it takes time for players to gel. Its a feel thing. For bigger schools that can recruit elite talent it may not matter, because they have the talent to create when things bog down. Think Kentucky. For North Texas its an issue, there are no elite players. All 5 guys have to be moving, working together, and have an idea of what each other is thinking for this offense to look good.
  6. The other way for this offense to look good is defense through offense. North Texas was never able to get turnovers, or get easy looks from fast break points. Credit Nebraska for not turning the ball over and for getting back on defense. North Texas only forced 12 turnovers and only had 2 fast break points.
  7. I will continue to say this Ryan Woolridge is the heart beat of this team. They go as he goes. Woolridge struggled early, so North Texas struggled. When he settled down, then North Texas started to play well and played Nebraska even. 
  8. As bad as the first half was North Texas actually outscored Nebraska in the 2nd half 37-34.  You could even go back to the under 8 timeout in the first half. From that moment on North Texas outscored Nebraska 59-56. So yes even though it was a blowout, North Texas was capable of winning against the Cornhuskers.
  9. I wish North Texas would’ve went to the zone defense earlier in the game to slow down the Nebraska run. I know its not McCasland’s style, but they needed to force Nebraska to shoot more from outside.
  10. The player of the game was Shane Temara. He came up with a double double. 16 points and 11 rebounds. He had a pretty solid game against the big front line of Nebraska.

    In the Bonus – AJ Lawson is off to a really slow start for North Texas. He is capable of more. North Texas needs more. Its understandable for him to not get double digits against a tall, long front line like Nebraska’s, but he still needs to be a factor on the boards.  Only 1 defensive rebound isn’t going to get it done.

Roosevelt Smart struggled mightily in this game. Nebraska put size on him, and he had trouble creating his own shot. In CUSA play he wont be facing a lot of 6-6 guards, so there is that. Still though North Texas can’t afford him to go so cold. If your struggling getting open looks, try to get to the foul line. I’m betting on Smart bouncing back against Bethune, but they are most likely going to put a big guy on him as well.

If Umoja Gibson is out for a significant period of time that will be a big blow to the UNT back court. Gibson is the secondary ball handler and one of the primary scoring threats. I know all of Mean Green Nation wishes him a speedy recovery.

 

Player Grades

 

Player Game Grade
Shane Temara A-
Roosevelt Smart D –
Ryan Woolridge C-
Umoja Gibson C-
AJ Lawson D-
DJ Draper B+
Allante Holston C+
Jorden Duffy D
Zachary Simmons B
Tope Arikawe D –

Players with 10 minutes + get graded.

Next up for North Texas is Bethune Cookman on Thursday in Denton.