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North Texas Wins 2018 CBI Tournament 88-77 Over San Francisco Dons

North Texas basketball won the CBI Tournament Final 88-77 in a game that meant very little nationally, but very much to the program.

Cheap jokes were made, but the uninformed only ever have surface level observations. To truly understand a moment one has to pay attention to the details.

The CBI is not prestigious, but North Texas basketball was not playing for prestige. It was playing for respect, and for themselves, and for the fans, and mostly again for themselves.

The CBI need not be covered like the NCAA tournament, but it is silly to think that the effort and competition were somehow less intense or less meaningful.

Tonight, was memorable.

Every so often in the life of a program there is a very special game that sticks in the collective minds of the fans. The Johnny Jones era of Mean Green ball had the Texas Tech victory game in which North Texas beat a Big 12 team. It was not quite a culmination of of things, but it stood out as a glimmer of what the program could be while also validating the success of previous campaigns. NT had won 20 games four straight years (and would go on to win 20 again in that 2010-2011 season) with two NCAA Tournament appearances in that time.

Beating Tech during the season was supposed to kick off the next era.

As far as collegiate basketball venues go, the Pit is decent. The greatest venues are great not because of sight lines, but because of memories.

The Tech game was a highlight but supposed to be supplanted by new and better memories. Tony Mitchell, Chris Jones, and Jordan Williams were supposed to carry the program to new and higher heights. Instead, well, you know what happened. North Texas followed six straight winning seasons (including five straight 20+ win seasons) with four losing seasons and one .500 year.

This was never about the CBI. This was always about returning the program to the path it was on from 2001-2012. The fans and supporters that endured the grind from an underperforming afterthought to a Tournament-bound, and consistent league contender were ready for the next step.

Winning the CBI means that basketball is back.

To know that you had to be paying attention.

The Game

North Texas beat a good team, let us acknowledge that here, but one that was at a disadvantage against NT. Frankie Ferrari is good, and has turned the Dons into a 20-game winner, with designs on returning the program to its previously lofty heights himself.

The Dons made 12 threes, on 37.5% shooting and 42% in the second period. Frankie the former Uber man made all five of his threes in the second half and fifteen of his nineteen in the second. USF made a nice little run to make things interesting but NT was able to put them away fairly easily.

North Texas was always the better team but San Francisco is the better executing squad. Tonight, the talent of NT and the improved offensive and defensive execution won the day. Roosevelt Smart had 25 in 39 minutes, wreaking havoc on the USF defensive plan, and Ryan Woolridge controlled the game.

AJ Lawson has struggled to find a consistent rhythm all season but looked like the slashing scorer NT needed. He had 12 huge points including 10 in the second half on 3/3 shooting and 4/6 from the line.

In one four-minute stretch he had an assist, two jumpers and a layup.

USF survived off second-chance points even without JR forward Matthew McCarthy, putting up 18 to NT’s 4. They also got points off of NT turnovers — scoring 19.

In the end, though, it was NT’s superior ability to get to the rim and really, wherever they wanted that was the difference. The Mean Green shot better — 40% from deep — in this one and that helped. In this series North Texas has won all but two halves — the first in game one and the final in this one, in which they simply tied at 50.

What It Means

North Texas basketball is back. Most people felt like Grant McCasland woud be able to right the ship. Few expected another 20-win season from the man who got Arky St to that number last season. Yet, here we are. NT has won 20 games for the first time since that aforementioned season wherein they beat Tech in the Pit.

The good feelings and new memories will carry over into the summer and build up the good will for the next season. It helps that the CBI has branded itself as the launching pad for NCAA tournament success. Things are looking up for this program, as you no doubt have seen written in this space this season. The league has had one of the better seasons in all of college basketball and North Texas competed well within it.

WKU, ODU, and Middle Tennessee all lost quality players. Marshall may lose more. The offseason will bring new faces into all of the league’s 14 programs, but North Texas has the one of the more intriguing returning squads of them all.

All of last offseason NT was selling hope and now the ticket sellers and outreach staff can sell results. That is big.

But you knew that because you, unlike some others, were paying attention to the details.

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2018 CBI Final Game 3: North Texas vs San Francisco

Sometime after the game wrapped on Wednesday night, Your Favorite Blogger (YFB) decided to put off a hastily written recap to enjoy time with his family. Work emergencies, snooze buttons, and the movement of the earth through time and space later, it is the day of game three and no recap is in draft form.

So it goes.

On the eve of the Final Four in San Antonio, somewhere on your dial — ESPN U — you can watch the Mean Green battle San Francisco one last time in the Spring of 2018 for the College Basketball Invitational tournament. This three-game series has familiarized us all with Frankie Ferrari, he of the small stature but big shot making ability. Three games have shown that if North Texas is engaged defensively, and shooting decently, then the Dons are not up to the task of winning.

Last game, the Super Pit creaked to life like it has not been since the very early days of the Tony Mitchell era, when he was blocking and rebounding and supposed to put North Texas on the minds of all the important college basketball people. Football is a spectacle, but basketball is a religious experience.

This tournament has felt like the Revival Weeks at my old church. Instead of the typical Sunday/Wednesday meetings we would do an everyday service while a visiting preacher(s) would reignite the spiritual flame of the congregation with the same old words told in new, fresh ways. So it has been for North Texas. The Super Pit is still the same, the game is still basketball, but old fans have renewed passion for their team.

If everything goes to plan, North Texas should win this game fairly easily. The loss on Monday and the mid-game struggles on Wednesday were caused by defensive lapses and poor shooting. San Francisco can shoot the ball really well, but they have yet to show they can consistently get their own shots in individual matchups, or punish North Texas at the rim. McCasland’s defense has been quick to help but USF has found the shooters with skip passes and quick ball movement.

When Duffy and Smart are on, NT has played extremely well. Ryan Woolridge has been great in this tournament — and all season — but he still will turn the ball over. Unfortunately, NT does not have anyone at his ball handling level, and has gotten in trouble when anyone else has to do more than cross over and go. Last game NT feasted on turnovers and got easy buckets at the rim. For a team that has lost it’s hot shooting touch (see table below) NT needed all the easy stuff it could get.

Opp 3FG 3FGA 3FG %
USD 14 34 41.18%
Mercer 12 29 41.38%
Jacksonville St 14 20 70.00%
USF G1 4 21 19.05%
USF G2 2 18 11.11%

Every coach will tell you that the shots will not always fall, but you can always control defense and effort. This team has not executed well defensively for all 40 minutes, but has shown the effort. The defense won game two, and will be very necessary for this deciding game three.

North Texas is the slightest of favorites tonight: last check showed a -4.5 edge for the Mean Green. Zach Simmons was briefly hurt last game, and Frankie Ferrari sat with a bad ankle for a bit. Ferrari only averages 11 points per contest, and has not really gone off this series, but he has found his teammates for easy buckets and makes the offense look much more crisp when he is the conductor. In Game 1 he had nine assists of the USF 20 total. That tied the opponent high for the season (Oklahoma had 20 in November). Wednesday, Frankie managed five of ten (with four turnovers).

If he is not at 100% that should bode well for NT.

If you are in the DFW area, you should make every attempt to get to the Pit for tonight’s game. Whatever the outcome, the experience should be memorable and that is all that one can hope for.

The Details

Game 3 of the CBI Finals

  • U of San Francisco (22-16) at U of North Texas (19-18)
  • 6PM CDT
  • Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM
  • TV: ESPNU

Other Things

CUSA has had a remarkable postseason run. Marshall made it to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament, WKU went to the NIT semi final at Madison Square Garden, Middle got a win in the NIT before bowing out, and even UTSA got a win in the CBI tournament. A win tonight would mean CUSA would have its sole championship winner in a postseason tournament by league’s 7th seed. North Texas will have won 20 games, putting Grant McCasland at 20 wins each of the last two seasons (he won 20 at Ark St). This tournament run has been helpful for all of the young player getting time in meaningful games. Whatever the outcome, the development time is already in the bag.

Aside from that, the renewed excitement surrounding the program is infectious. Winning tonight will carry over into next season, the support and attention is valuable, the kind of thing that athletic departments and higher ups dream of. All things considered, this tournament run could not have turned out better.

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USF Holds On To Beat North Texas in CBI Tournament Final Game 1: 72-62

We have to use a different set of sports fan skills in (over)reacting to the game one loss last night. Typically college sports is all about the singular moment of a handful of games. One shining moment, etc. The CBI’s unusual three-game final series is unique in this regard. I like it, as it spreads the drama and entertainment. Anything can happen in a game, but over a series of games the better team usually prevails. I do not have the data to tell you anything about a three-game series, but I do prefer it in this context. We can be patient. North Texas is still the better team even if the first half of last night’s game looked otherwise.

USF was favored last night so losing to the Dons was not completely unexpected, but opening the game by missing everything and defending no one was. The Mean Green had a few open looks and missed those. They had a few contested looks, and missed those. Meanwhile, the USF and Ferrari were stroking jumpers with only casual resistance.

The Dons made 12 threes in the first half but went only 1-12 for most of the second (before hitting one or two to close things out in the final minute). NT scored 30 and 32 points in the first and second halves, while the Dons had 46 and 26. There was a comeback as North Texas looked like the better, more athletic team in the second half and USF started missing. Our guys scrambled, turned the ball over too much, and could not score at the kind of clip needed to make it all the way back. There were missed layups and missed free throws and our best shooters were off.

For all the praise we deservedly gave the Mean Green squad this tournament, this team is far from complete. Still, there was plenty to like in that loss. The players played hard, if not well. They got back in the game, and did not give up.

The series is back in Denton and this is now a must-win elimination game. The urgency that has been in every tournament game since first round of the CUSA Tournament is back. That will help, but focus on defense and the confidence that comes with making open shots will help more.

Observations

  • USF prepared for Ryan Woolridge by not trying to outrace him, and simply meeting him at the rim. Zach Simmons should continue to get all of the rebounds, but North Texas only got 51% of the total rebounds. USF kept a few important possessions alive with big offensive boards that killed the rally.
  • The announcers are clearly 3rd string and we cannot complain too loudly. Still, it will get a bit irritating hearing them clearly repeat just-learned knowledge so inartfully this week. Also I hate car puns.
  • Ryan Woolridge did not have one of his better games and the entire team looked off because of it. He is so important to what this team does, because of his vision, ball handling, and speed.
  • Jorden Duffy took a couple of awful shots in this one. A comeback has to increase risk-taking but that usually means taking the first good shot available and not the first shot.

Next for North Texas

North Texas is at home on Wednesday. Game 2 is obviously hugely important and the crowd should be loud. USF is good, but I think NT is a little bit better athletically and that showed in the second half. NT won that by six and only ran out of time. It is silly to say, but that is why you do not let first half leads get out of hand. NT was down 12 and suddenly the half ended at 16.

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North Texas vs San Francisco in the 2018 CBI Finals

North Texas will play San Francisco in the 2018 CBI Finals. This tournament run has been incredible and NT has broken a handful of tournament records for scoring and shooting. Roosevelt Smart and Jorden Duffy (and everyone else) have been especially amazing. Now, we all find out who they will go up against in the final.

CBI Schedule

Date Time Matchup
March 26 9 pm CDT NT @ USF
March 28 7:30 pm CDT USF @ NT
March 30 * 7 pm CDT USF @ NT

Yes, March is supposed to be about survive and advance and yet here we have a playoff series. The Dons won a close one in the semi finals and NT is coming in feeling really good. The travel will be strange, and the most difficult proposition will be in flying back to Denton after the first game.

Yes, North Texas opens in California and then comes home to Denton. This is a best-of-three series so this thing could be over by Wednesday of next week.

For what it is worth, of the five CUSA teams that made the postseason — Marshall, Middle, WKU, NT, and UTSA — only NT and WKU remain. Marshall was destroyed by WVU, Middle was blown out by Lousiville, and UTSA lost at home tonight in the CIT final against Sam Houston.

No, I would have never thought that North Texas and WKU would be the teams still playing for “nets” at this point in the season. The CBI and various administrators have called this tournament a “springboard” and point to recent former winners Nevada and Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet 16 this season. I will buy that. There is a ton of young talent on this team and the NT powers that be thought it wise to get them some more competitive court time.

So far it has paid off handsomely.

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North Texas Dominates JSU 90 – 68, Into CBI Final

Once upon a time, North Texas Basketball seemed like it was going to be really good. NT had a future NBA player and a handful of really good recruits. Then it all disappeared and for the last five years fans who remember that time have filled the ears of anyone who would listen of stories of that time.

Seeing this NT basketball team dominate a team so completely in a postseason game in front of a fun crowd is almost like a dream. It is something like an oasis. The Mean Green have thoroughly dominated three good, solid college basketball teams in this postseason tournament on the way to the CBI Final. I never knew I would care so deeply about a tournament that I so recently learned about but so it is.

This is the second straight game NT has won at home after scoring 90 points. Even though they scored fewer points than on Monday, the shooting was even better. NT shot a blistering 62% from the field and 70% from three on 14/20 shooting. CBI records are and were falling every time NT has stepped on the floor this March.

Roosevelt Smart was your leading scorer with a mere 20 in an efficient night — shooting 6/12 shooting. Jorden Duffy hit all five of his three balls on the way to 19 points. This of course after the two combined for 62 points on Monday. If they were asked to score more, they could have and likely would have. Instead the rest of the roster contributed buckets upon buckets. DJ Draper was left alone to hit 4/5 from three also.

This game was never in doubt as (for real this time) North Texas led from tip to buzzer. Duffy hit the first bucket of the game and NT never looked back. The Mean Green led by five at the 16:57 mark and never looked back. The Gamecocks never got closer than that the rest of the way. By halftime the lead was 28.

What do we make of this incredible series of games? NT has famously (now) gone to an all-guard lineup and the change has been dramatic. Spacing in basketball — pro and college — has always been the name of the game, and this era even more so. With Mike Miller shooting with his right hand now — that story is so crazy — NT has three shooters, a ball handler, and a big man that can finish on the court. Add to this combination an increase in tempo and a solid, active defense, and the result is a team that cannot be stopped by the CBI field.

North Texas has a nice little break before the Monday CBI Final Game 1 (yes, this is a strange tournament). For a sneak peak at the possible competition watch Campbell at San Francisco tomorrow on ESPN3 at 9 CDT.

Much has been made of the fact that Nevada and Loyola Chicago the 2016 and 2015 champs, respectively, are facing off in this year’s Sweet 16. If this tournament is any indication of the progress we can expect North Texas to make next year, then Wren Baker will have an easy time selling season tickets.

Grant McCasland is two wins away from 20 on the season. This is really happening. GMG

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North Texas vs Jacksonville St Tonight in CBI Semifinal

Forgive this blog if in this surreal moment in NT basketball history, it is unable to plan a sufficiently good amount of blog posts and podcast producing in the face of an odd work-life schedule.

Yes, North Texas basketball is in a semifinal tonight, on a strange run in something like the back alleyways of college basketball’s postseason. The NCAA Tournament is brighter than the sun, and the NIT gets ESPN coverage but these smaller two tournaments have been streamed.

NT’s first round game was on Yotes Vision while the last two will have been on ESPN3. Having grown up when streaming was a dream, I am thankful for the ability to see my favorite team however I can. Still, the regulation to streaming when the other tournaments are on linear television is a step down. The shakiness of an internet connection can ruin the communal viewing experience that never happens on cable television.

There is hope, however small. If North Texas wins tonight the finals are on ESPNU.

Speaking of chances to win, North Texas is playing at an extremely high level that renders the regular season something like useless as a prediction tool. Regardless, in lieu of the proper preview you deserve, know that Jackson St is ranked 130 in Kenpom while NT is 161. Louisiana Tech is ranked 149 in case you want a frame of reference.

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North Texas Dominates Mercer in CBI Quarterfinal 96 – 67, Advance To Semifinal on Wednesday Night

Who knew North Texas was destined to dominiate in the College Basketbal Invitational? I gather that no one thought this nor knew that this particular tournament existed. Here we are now and the Mean Green are giving little glimpses into what Grant McCasland had cooking up in his head.

At Baylor Scott Drew was known for adapting his playing style to the talent of the team on his roster. This may seem like extreme common sense but it is not that common. Grant McCasland has had only two D1 level squads that we can judge and in both situations he was adapting to the roster of a program he inherited.

The above is a long way of saying we did not know exacly what to expect from coach Mac. After the disaster before him, anything resembling a coherent program was going to be fine with most observers.

The early roster makeup and early games looked like North Texas was going to push the pace and be something like the team we have seen in this CBI. Because of injury — Umoja Gibson and Jorden Duffy — NT has played a slower, more deliberate pace that ranked as one of the slowest in the league.

Against South Dakota and tonight against Mercer, the Mean Green have been attacking with pace, using a smaller, quicker lineup with shooters.

Duffy has been the guy we thought he would be along side Rose Smart. He had 19 against USD while Rose had 34. Tonight, they put on show. There was little-to-no drama about the outcome after a point but there was drama around which NT player would be the leading scorer.

In the end, they both had 31 points. Duffy did it from deep, knocking down 6/10 from beyond the arc to go along with his four assists and two steals. Rose Smart went 8/20 including 4/13 from deep, but added eleven boards and went 11/12 from the stripe.

North Texas shot 55% for the game and held Mercer to 35% from the floor including an abysmal 5/26 (19%) from three, where they live and die.

This sleek NT starting five — Woolridge, Duffy, Smart, Miller, and Simmons — came out ready to attack. Tope Arikawe split the minutes at the five spot pretty evenly with Simmons and was a +23 in that time.

The win has put NT in position to host the semifinal round of the CBI on Wednesday night. The crowd was good and rowdy, filling long time fans with nostalgia for the late Johnny Jones era when good basketball at the Pit was a given, and post season fun was expected.

The Denton crowd has a chance to repeat the performance and so does North Texas. The CBI Tournament final is an unusual set up wherein the two entrants play a three-game series to determine the champion. Depending on the situation, North Texas has a chance to host as many as three more games in this event.

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North Texas Men’s Basketball Wins CBI First Round Game Over South Dakota 90-77

North Texas has one postseason win. No doubt you read Greg’s CBI First Round preview of South Dakota. So you know how difficult this game was going to be.

Then a little March Craziness. South Dakota was favored by someting like 13 points and proceeded to get run out of their own building.

Mercer beat Grand Canyon on the road and will now face North Texas in the CBI quarterfinal round. From what I can tell, NT will host the game at the Super Pit on March 19th. Beyond that and the tournament is re-bracketed afterward so there is no telling who will be on the schedule past then.

CBI Bracket can be found here.

Roosevelt Smart scored 23 points in the second half as he demoralized the Yote’s radio announcer. The man was devastated with each additional three point haymaker.

Michael Miller incredibly added 19 points on 4/5 shooting from beyond the arc. Jorden Duffy added 19. North Texas stuck with a six-man rotation of Smart, Miller, Duffy, Simmons, Woolridge, and Draper. NT shot well from the line, but the real story was how poorly South Dakota shot.

In front of what looked like a very mediocre crowd, Matt Mooney and company shot only 37% from the field including an awful 18.2% from deep. USD made a valiant attempt at a comeback but the 22 poitn deficit was too much.

Zach Simmons had seventeen rebounds and nine points. Woolridge added nine assists.

NT improved to 16-17 on the season.

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Basketball

2018 CBI Tournament: NT vs South Dakota Preview

Overview

North Texas will take their young group up to South Dakota for some post season basketball.

  • Wednesday, March 14 2018
  • 7:00 p.m. CT
  • Sanford Coyote Sports Center , Vermillion, S.D
  • TV:  www.goyotes.com/Watch
  • Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM
  • Line: USD -13

What You Need to Know About South Dakota

Record: 26-8 (7-11)

Coach: Craig Smith 4th season at USD (79-54)

Last Game:  L South Dakota St 97-87

Scoring Margin: 13

Summit League Scoring Margin: 9.5

Season Story:  South Dakota began the season with hopes of taking down reigning Summit League champs South Dakota St. Close losses at TCU and UCLA signaled that the Coyotes were going to be one of the best teams in the Summit League again. They even put up 80 points on Duke. The Coyotes were solid in their league, they beat South Dakota St in their first match-up at home. It was a 19 point beat down. When the Coyotes traveled to Brookings they only lost by 4.  USD lost by 10 to SD St in the conference championship game. The Coyotes could never recover from their 12 point deficit in the first half.

South Dakota will be one of the best teams that North Texas has faced all year. The Coyotes are extremely balanced. They play well on the offensive and defensive end. South Dakota had one 1st team All-Summit League player (G Matt Mooney), and two 2nd team All-Summit League players ( F Trey Burch-Manning, and F Tyler Hagedorn).  This game will be a great  challenge North Texas.


 Projected Starting Lineups

North Texas

Player Position Stat
Ryan Woolridge 6-3 G 5.5 A/pg
Roosevelt Smart 6-3 G 18.9 PT/pg
A.J. Lawson 6-5 G 9.9 PT/pg
Allante Holston 6-7 F 3.5 PT/pg
Zach Simmons 6-9 F 5.8 PT/pg

 

South Dakota

Player Position Stat
Triston Simpson 6-2 G 8.6 PT/pg
Matt Mooney 6-3 G 18.6 PT/pg
Tyler Peterson 6-4 G 7.9 PT/pg
Trey Burch-Manning 6-6 F 8.5 PT/pg
Tyler Hagedorn 6-10 F 13.2 PT/pg

Scouting Report

South Dakota

  • Defense – Man
  • Best Offensive Weapon – Matt Mooney
  • Best Shooter – Matt Mooney
  • Best Defender – Matt Mooney
  • Rim Protecter – Not Really
  • Primary Offensive Scoring Way – Inside/Driving to the Basket
  • Secondary Offensive Scoring Way – Mid Range
  • Offensive Weakness – Don’t Really Have One. They are balanced and can score well at all levels.
  • Defensive Weakness – If you’re good at getting to the free throw line, they will put you on the line. They give up a lot of mid range shots. Their mid range shooting % is good, but if you can knock down the mid range shot, you’ll find great success against them. They don’t have a true rim protector, and don’t block shots.
  • Defensive Strengths – 3 Point Defense, Forcing Turnovers.

 


Go To Guys

 

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Player Match-ups

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Simpson is an athletic young point guard. He does a great job running the show for USD. He gets the ball to the right people at the right time. He has above average quickness, and will push the ball every chance he gets.  Simpson is also a good outside shooter. In conference play he was shooting 41% from behind the 3pt line. Simpson is a solid defender as well. As good as Simpson is, he still isn’t as good as Ryan. Ryan should be able to get to the rim on Simpson. The biggest concern for UNT is if Simpson is able to speed Woolridge up. That’s where Ryan gets into trouble with TO’s.

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Tyler Peterson is a versatile guard for USD. Peterson can play 1 through 4 for the Coyotes.  Peterson does most of his damage near the basket, he isn’t much of a threat from downtown. He is though a solid rebounder on the offensive end.  We predicted this match-up because Smart doesn’t really match-up with well with Mooney. If Peterson is matched up with Smart then, Smart should be able to get his on the offensive end, because Peterson isn’t one of those long wings that has given Smart trouble all year. When USD has the ball Peterson’s ability to get to the basket and draw fouls could be bad for UNT.  The Mean Green don’t tend to fair well when Smart is in foul trouble.

Now when Mooney guards Smart, that will be a fun match-up to watch. Mooney is 6’3 210, Smart 6’3 185. Mooney is still quicker than Smart. Roosevelt is going to have a tough time finding his shot against Mooney.

 

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Mooney is such a special player. He does everything well. He has great ball handling skills, gets his teammates involved, solid shooter, and a good defender. Mooney is who makes the Coyotes backcourt so good.  Lawson is going to have trouble staying in front of Mooney. When UNT has the ball Mooney will most likely be matched up Smart. That will leave Peterson guarding Lawson, which would still favor USD.  Peterson has 15 lbs on Lawson, and should be able to keep Lawson from getting to the rim.

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Trey Burch-Manning is another versatile player in the USD lineup. Trey is the leading rebounder for USD. He can finish around the rim, doesn’t shoot much from outside, gets to the stripe at a good clip, and is a good defender. Burch-Manning was 6th in Summit league play for steals per game at 1.4.  You have to give Burch-Manning a major advantage over Holston.

 

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This match-up is intriguing.  Hagedorn is a skilled big man that can shoot the outside shot very well.  He is probably more of threat from the outside then down in the post, and that’s what makes this match-up intriguing. This is the kind of player that Temara would normally be guarding. Hagedorn is going to take Simmons out away from the rim.  When UNT has the ball Simmons should be able to get some good looks. Hagedorn at 6-10 isn’t a great rim protector.

 

Other Match-ups to Watch for

Draper vs Mooney

Draper is probably going to be that 1st sub for Lawson. Hopefully Draper can be scrappy enough to give Mooney some troubles.

Tope vs Hagedorn

If Zach can’t handle Hagedorn’s outside game, then UNT will turn to Tope, who is a little bit more versatile as a defender.

USD 6th Men Possibilities 

Nick Fuller 6-7 F, 8.7 points, 4 rebs. Not sure he will play since he was a graduate transfer.

Carlton Hurt 6-3 G, 6.3 points, 4.4 rebs

 


 

Inside the Advanced Stat Match-up

 

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3 Points

  1. Tempo – USD averages 15.8 seconds per possession. The Coyotes like to get up as many shots as possible. They speed their opponents up, and that’s where turnover’s happen. North Texas has to keep this game at their pace.
  2. Motivation – USD just lost in their conference championship game. Their whole season was about beating South Dakota St in the Summit League Championship, so how motivated will they be? A motivated USD team might be too much for UNT to handle.
  3. Free Throws – If your a team that can get to the line, USD will put you at the stripe. North Texas must be in attack mode, and they have to stay strong when finishing around the basket. Refs don’t reward weak inside shots.  If North Texas can get to the line and MAKE those shots then the Mean Green have a chance.

Prediction

CUSA flexed some of its muscle last night with WKU and Middle dominating. It proved that CUSA was a really good league this year. UNT’s best non-conference win was against San Diego who finished 4th in the WCC. WCC is a really good league.  CUSA is ranked as the 12th best league, but the Summit league were South Dakota resides is ranked 13th.  So if you were thinking that North Texas may have the upper hand based on conference supremacy you can throw that out the window.

Most of you probably weren’t thinking that way anyways. Most of you were thinking about how good South Dakota looks on paper, and how they almost beat a couple of NCAA Tourney teams. That’s the right way to be thinking. If USD comes out motivated at home tonight, then North Texas won’t have much of chance to pull off the upset.  There should be some of hangover for USD though, and that means North Texas WILL have a shot tonight. Expect a close game early, but South Dakota will pull away in the final four minutes.

My Pick:  South Dakota by 8