North Texas will be playing Wichita State often when they move to the American. Right now, this is non-conference play and things looked good. NT went to Kansas and beat the Shockers by ten, and thoroughly “imposed their will” as the announcers so gloomily put it.
Thomas Bell, last year’s utility star who shone brightest when the lights were hottest, made big plays down the stretch again. He got buckets, distributed the ball, and was a calming presence as NT held off the Shocker’s press and closed the game out.
Tylor Perry had a team-high 23, including some close-it-out freebies late (10 of 10!). Bell had 13, two blocks two seals, and five boards. JJ Murray had eight rebounds and five steals!
We saw an active, locked in NT in the second, forcing turnovers and taking advantage of the ensuing run-outs. Call them fortunate or vulnerable or what have you, but it was a good effort on the road against a solid program. Kenpom calls this a “tier A” game, which for those of you unaware, means it is a tough game. Very impressive. Much basketball.
Coming up NT has Tulsa in the Compete for Cause Classic, and then a tune-up game before league play begins on the first. Like most seasons, McCasland’s team is showing they are going to be a tough out and that is great. CUSA has a deep roster of squads — WKU, Tech and especially UAB — and there will be much work ahead.