Was that headline controversial?
It should not be. NT has a good basketball team, but no one who follows this league closely thought that NT had the best squad. WKU is über-talented, ODU is well-coached and physically imposing, and Marshall are the reigning tourney champs.
NT dropped a big road game in Norfolk tonight, and it was not surprising. That, probably, was disappointing to many who wanted some magic from this team.
North Texas has been punching above its weight — almost literally — since the opening tip of the CBI tournament last spring. The four-guard lineup relies on extreme hustle — they are one of the shortest teams in the nation yet out-rebound nearly every opponent — and shooting.
The rebounding is still there, but the shooting has not been. The Mean Green are shooting an awful 30% from distance in conference play, putting them in 14th place.
Roosevelt Smart has only one 20-point game thus far this season. He had two 30-point games in March alone last season. He has struggled with his shot, which is the basis for his entire game. Tonight, he went 1-8 from distance and only took one 2pt attempt, as ODU dominated from end-to-end.
NT is capable of beating an ODU or any team if they can shoot. If not, well, then it is nothing like a surprise. The entire game is determined by counting which team can make more/more valuable shots, after all. Because this team puts a premium on taking and making open threes it is especially difficult to beat a team like ODU when they are not dropping.
The Monarchs have one of the biggest squads in the nation, and they are built to take away everything inside, forcing you to beat them from distance. They challenge everything and put a physical beating on everyone.
NT has been able to get wins through remarkable play from Zachary Simmons — NT’s lone big man. The Monarchs’s physicality got NT in foul trouble and all put together it was a tough night.
NT is still one of the top-five in the conference and there is a long way to go. We shouldn’t make any grand proclamations just yet — for any squad in this league. We can acknowledge that NT is in a month-long slump, however.