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Basketball Basketball Recaps

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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Basketball

2018 CBI Tournament: NT vs Jacksonville St

Overview

North Texas looks to continue its CBI run against a very physical defensive Jacksonville St team .

  • Wednesday, March 21 2018
  • 7:00 p.m. CT
  • The Super Pit , Denton, TX
  • TV:  ESPN 3
  • Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM
  • Line: EVEN

What You Need to Know About Jacksonville St

Record: 23-12 (11-7 Ohio Valley)

Coach: Ray Harper 2nd season at JSU (43-27)

Last Game:  W Central Arkansas 80-59

Scoring Margin: 6.9

Ohio Valley Scoring Margin: 2.7


 Projected Starting Lineups

North Texas (CBI AVG)

Player Position Stat
Ryan Woolridge 6-3 G 10 A/pg
Jorden Duffy 6-1 G 25 PT/pg
Roosevelt Smart 6-3 G 32.5 PT/pg
Michael Miller 6-3 G 12.5 PT/pg
Zach Simmons 6-9 F 11 REB/pg

 

Jacksonville St (CBI AVG)

Player Position Stat
Jamall Gregory 6-3 G 6 PT/pg
Malcolm Drumwright 6-2 G 18.5 PT/pg
Marlon Hunter 6-3 G 10.5 PT/pg
Christian Cunningham 6-7 F 3.5 PT/pg
Norbertas Giga 7-0 C 9 REB/pg

Scouting Report

Jacksonville St

  • Defense – Primary is Man, but they will mix in zone.
  • Best Offensive Weapon – Jason Burnell
  • Best Shooter – Jason Burnell
  • Best Defender – Jason Burnell
  • Rim Protecter – Yes, Norbetas Giga
  • Primary Offensive Scoring Way – Mid Range Shots
  • Secondary Offensive Scoring Way – Second Chances/Offensive Rebound. One of the best in the country at getting put back points.
  • Offensive Weakness – Not a good outside shooting team.
  • Defensive Weakness – They dont have a lot of weak areas on defense.  If you can hit 3’s and mid range jumpers then you can score on them.
  • Defensive Strengths – Rim Protection, they dont allow their opponents to score much in the paint. They also dont allow their opponent to get up a lot of shots.

 


Go To Guys

 

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Player Match-ups

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Gregory is considered the best athlete on the JSU team, so this should be a fun match-up to watch. Gregory does most of his damage getting to the rim, but he can step out and hit a 3 if he is left open. Ryan has been dynamic in the CBI. With more shooting surrounding him, its allowed him to play free.

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Hunter played under Harper at WKU, and then transferred to Odessa College. Harper is a really good defender that should get the assignment of trying to shutdown Smart. On offense Hunter is more of a mid range and get to the basket guy.  85% of Hunter’s shots came inside the arch. If you’re a North Texas fan, you already know how dynamic Smart is.  Hunter isn’t the type of guy that gives Smart issues on the offensive end, so Smart should get his share of open looks again.

 

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Malcolm Drumwright is really solid player. He led JSU in points per game, and assists. He will be a tough guard for Duffy. Duffy has been nothing short of sensational during the CBI. He’s left many UNT fans exciting for next year, and wondering what if for the past year. Duffy will be able to get open looks against Drumwright when UNT has the ball, but Drumwright is the higher caliber player.

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Cunningham is a good low post scorer and defender. His size and strength maybe an issue for the smaller defender Miller. Cunningham is the top rebounder for JSU.  If Miller can step out and hit a few 3’s again, he will do his part in pulling Cunningham away from the basket. This match-up is the most intriguing, because of their differing style of play.  Miller is also going to see a lot of Burnell.

 

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Giga is one of those European players who can pass, dribble, and shoot.  He’s not a great shooter, but more of a capable shooter.  Giga has had somewhat of a disappointing year. JSU was expecting him to be more dominate. Simmons has continued to improve throughout the season.  Simmons has grown into a solid big. He can score around the rim with both hands. Giga gets the overall nod here, because he can do a little bit more. Simmons will still get his in this game, because Woolridge will break down the JSU defense.

 

Other Contributors 

JSU – Jason Burnell

Burnell is a basically the 6th starter for this JSU team. He will play the 4 for JSU when he is on the floor, but he is more of a guard. Wont’t take a lot of 3’s, but is capable of knocking them down. Burnell can really score from anywhere on the court. Burnell was a JUCO star, who struggled to find his way at Georgia Southern. Under Harper at JSU he has really taken off.

JSU – Jacara Cross

Big dude, looks like a football player. Doesnt get a lot of minutes, but he does contribute when he plays.  Against Central Arkansas he had 13 pts and 13 boards.

UNT – DJ Draper

Draper is a 3 pt sniper, who has seen his role diminish some with Duffy getting healthy. Draper is a solid bench contributor. He is a sneaky good defender, and as mentioned already he can knock down the open 3. Draper has struggled in the CBI going 0-6 from behind the arch.

 

UNT – Tope Arikawe

Tope is a high energy forward. He gets himself into trouble with his aggressiveness at time. Tope does a solid job with his post defense and rebounding ability. Tope didnt play against South Dakota, but had 7 boards and 6 assists against Mercer. Tope will need to provide solid minutes tonight vs the JSU front court.


 

Inside the Advanced Stat Match-up

 

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3 Points

  1. 3 Point Shooting – North Texas has been on fire from downtown in the CBI. That will need to continue tonight, if UNT wants to win. JSU is too good of a defensive team, when it comes to protecting the paint
  2. Second Chance Points – 32 second chance points for JSU during the CBI. JSU is one of the best second chance scoring teams in the country. North Texas has to do a great job of team rebounding, and blocking out.
  3. Attack – North Texas has thrived off of early runs in the past 2 games. The Mean Green will need to do that again tonight. Use the energy created, by what should be a great atmosphere, to bury JSU early.

Prediction

The way North Texas is playing right now you have to pick the Mean Green. They don’t have to go inside to score, they can get open looks by spacing the floor with shooters around Woolridge. That makes UNT a very hard team to guard. Jacksonville St is a little bit better of a defensive team then South Dakota was. They certainly are much more physical. If you’re a North Texas fan the one thing that has to concern you the most tonight is the front court of Burnell, Giga, and Cunningham. Their physical play could put the slim NT front court in foul trouble. Those guys could also do damage on the boards and second chance points.

I like North Texas to win this game and move onto the CBI Finals. Too much mojo, and firepower for JSU to overcome tonight.

My Pick:  North Texas by 5

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Basketball

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.