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NIT: First Round Preview, Mean Green vs Alcorn St

Editor’s note: North Texas is in the National Invitation Tournament. Let’s be honest. It is not the prize tournament. No one born after 1945 is dreaming of lifting the NIT trophy. Luther Vandross did not sing about the NIT, folks.

Still, winning the NIT is a thing. You can be proud of winning this thing. It has a tradition and a history and good, quality programs will compete for the title. North Texas is perfectly capable of winning in Las Vegas. In fact, I believe in the Mean Green so much that I am looking at flights right now.

But first, Alcorn St. North Texas is a -17.5 point favorite but upsets happen at anytime and especially in March. — Adam

What does Alcorn St do well?

  1. Offensive Rebounding – They have an Offensive Rebounding % that ranks 34th in the nation and was the best in the SWAC (Per Kenpom). They rank 42nd in the nation in offensive rebounds per game, 11.87. Forward Jeremiah Kendall is averaging 3.45 offensive rebounds per game which is 16th best in the country.
  2. Get To the FT Line – Alcorn St gets 21.8% of their points from the FT line, 23rd best in the nation.
  3. Get Steals – They average 8 steals per game (46th NCAA) for the season. Their Steal % is 11.6 on Kenpom which ranks 36th. Guard Byron Joshua averaged 1.6 steals per game.

Where is Alcorn Weak?

  1. Shooting – They rank near the bottom of the NCAA in 3pt (327) and 2pt (327) shooting percentage.
  2. Defensive Rebounding – While the Braves are a good offensive rebounding team, they are terrible in keeping their opponent off the boards.
  3. Fouling – The Braves commit 19 fouls per game which ranks 319th nationally. Their opponents are getting 20.7% of their points from the FT Line.

Who Gets the Rubin Jones Matchup?

It will likely be Dekedran Thorn or Dominic Brewton. Thorn is the best 3pt shooter for the Braves. Brewton is the best scorer. Brewton is averaging 12 ppg and does a great job of getting to the FT line.

X-Factor Player – Going to go with Abou Ousmane. Ousmane is coming off a rough game against UAB. He will be going against one of the smaller front lines that he’s faced this year. Alcorn is one of the smallest teams in the country, and they don’t block a lot of shots.

North Texas Keys to the Game:

  1. Free Throw Rate (FTA divided by FGA) – Both teams will be prioritizing getting to the FT line. North Texas will need to keep Alcorn under a FT Rate of about 35%. On the other side of the ball North Texas is looking for a FT Rate of 31%. What is interesting about this key is that both teams are currently giving up the needed rates. Alcorn gives up a FT Rate of 39.1%, and North Texas is at 41.2%. Can one of these team’s guard without fouling?
  2. Limiting Steals for Alcorn. North Texas needs to be strong with the ball and keep Alcorn from getting over 6 steals.
  3. Two Point %. We’ve mentioned it before on the podcast that shooting 47% from 2pt range is the magic number for North Texas. North Texas is 21-1 when they shoot over 47% from 2, they are 6-6 when they don’t.
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