UTEP vs North Texas Halftime Notes

The offense has gone heavy uptempo and heavy pass against UTEP this game. With the help of a special teams fumble recovery, Mason Fine scored three touchdown passes in less than three minutes of play in the first quarter. This is what the uptempo offense has hoped to be all season. The major factor in wins and losses has been the defense’s ability to stop scores.

The receivers have been getting open at will against UTEP’s defensive backs. Because of the pass game success, the running game has been quiet. This was likely part of the game plan going into this matchup.

So Mason Fine has got five (FIVE) touchdown passes. Two to Jaelon Darden, one to Jason Pirtle, one to Deonte Simpson, and one to Jyaire Shorter.

The special teams group had been performing very well this half, up until they allowed the kickoff return for a TD. The punt coverage has also wanted a piece of the pie and has stepped in and tipped at least one punt.

The defense allowed UTEP to march down the field on only a couple drives, giving up one offensive score. Additionally, the defensive backs have played aggressively – even with a few missed assignments here and there. An added wrinkle in this game is UTEP’s Treyvon Hughes being used in the wildcat, leading to UTEP’s lone score. That man is 6’1” and 235lbs. He is difficult to bring down.


2017-18 BBall Season: FAU Preview


North Texas ends its Florida trip with a battle against FAU.

  • Saturday, Feb 24 2018
  • 6:00 p.m. CT
  • FAU Arena , Boca Raton FL
  • TV:  CUSA TV
  • Radio: MGRN – 88.1 KNTU-FM
  • Line: North Texas -1.5

What You Need to Know About FAU

Record: 11-16 (5-10)

Last Game vs UNT: L 59-53

Last Game: Rice L 79-76

Scoring Margin: –0.1

CUSA Scoring Margin: -4.0

 Projected Starting Lineups

North Texas

Player Position Stat
Ryan Woolridge 6-3 G 5.7 A/pg
Roosevelt Smart 6-3 G 19.2 PT/pg
A.J. Lawson 6-5 G 9.4 PT/pg
Allante Holston 6-7 F 3.9 PT/pg
Tope Arikawe 6-8 F 3.9 PT/pg



Player Position Stat
Justin Massey 6-4 G 12.9 PT/pg
Payton Hulsey 6-5 G 6.0 PT/pg
Jailyn Ingram 6-7 G 8.8 PT/pg
William Pfister 6-10 F 6.7 REB/pg
Ronald Delph 7-0 C 14.2 PT/pg

Game Plan

Attacking FAU

FAU Defensive Strategy: Man

Last game against FAU Smart was hampered with foul trouble.  Smart only had 4 points. The real hero was AJ Lawson. His offensive outburst wasn’t one that many were expecting. Lawson did a great job attacking and finishing around the rim. Woolridge was another dude who had a good game. NT killed FAU on the offensive boards last game. The Mean Green grabbed 16. FAU’s coaches will most likely make that a point of emphasis today.

North Texas feels like a much different team offensively since then. The Mean Green look like they are operating with much more efficiency.  That should give any NT fan hope that this is the game that stops the losing streak.  Other reasons for hope are the continue improved play from Jorden Duffy.  I get the feel that Duffy is close to a break out game.

Defending FAU

If Simmons doesn’t play which looks unlikely then North Texas is going to have a helluva time defending the size of FAU. Delph had a good game against NT when these two teams met in Denton.  He was pretty much the only starter that scored double digits. The other primary threat for FAU Justin Massey scored only one point. Massey has been playing much better, scoring double digits in his last 5 games.  The 6th man for FAU Gerdarius Troutman could be one to watch. He is the best 3pt shooter for FAU. Troutman has 15 3’s in the past 5 games.

FAU is going to follow the game plans of previous opponents of NT. The Owls are most likely going to throw lots of ball screens at NT. We all know that guys like Tope and Temara struggle in those situations. Hopefully NT has made a few adjustments. The other concern for NT in this game is front court depth. Tope often finds himself in foul trouble. McCasland would prefer that not happen. I dont think he wants to play Fuller or Temara. If Tope gets in foul trouble NT may go with a super small lineup. It will be something to watch.


Go To Guys




3 Points

  1. North Texas dominated FAU on the glass last time. Can they do that again without Simmons? FAU is one of the better rebounding teams in the conference.
  2. Second half defense has been suspect for UNT the past 4 games. FAU is the worst offensive team in CUSA. North Texas really needs to lock down the Owls.
  3. If Simmons doesn’t play Tope AND Temara have to have good games against the big front line of FAU. I’m not talking scoring I’m talking rebounding.

Inside the Advanced Stat Match-up




North Texas is playing well on offense right now.  FAU is playing better on offense too. This game is going to come down to NT’s ability to defend and attack the boards. I know I’ve preached a lot about defense, but to me this game comes down to the battle on the boards. I think NT will get a collective effort from everyone. I also think NT will find their defense. I think they will really get after FAU today.

My Pick:  North Texas by 3


Dropping Dimes – 10 Thoughts Recapping NT vs. WKU

North Texas got “out-flexed” at home by a superior Western Kentucky team.

  1. If you would’ve told me that Smart, Woolridge, Lawson, Simmons, and Draper were all going to score double figures I would’ve guaranteed a North Texas win.  For a half of basketball North Texas could do no wrong on offense. Lawson ,and Woolridge were getting into the lane at ease. Lawson was finishing, and Woolridge was dropping dimes to Simmons. It was all going so well, but it soon feel apart. North Texas shot 60% in the first half and it dipped to 37.1% in the second half.

  2. If your a box score looker like most are you are feeling pretty upset at the fact that WKU shot 48 free throws while UNT only shot 13. If you were at the game you probably feel just as upset. Lets talk about what happened. First off WKU was already a great team at getting to the line, and UNT was a team that generally put teams on the line a lot. That played out last night. On the flip side of that WKU was a team that doesn’t foul a lot.  WKU fouls the least in CUSA. However, UNT was still a team that gets to the line quite a bit. So what happened? Well WKU was the aggressor. They had guards that North Texas couldn’t stay in front of.  On offense North Texas just wasn’t getting to the basket, and they weren’t getting the calls. Coleby was injured, but he was still a force. Watching the game it just didn’t feel like UNT put itself in position to get calls.

  3. I’m going to preach this till I’m blue in the face. This North Texas team isn’t equipped to get in a high paced shoot out type of game. They are going to win with their defense and their gritty style. Low 70’s and games in the 60’s are what we want to see  from UNT vs teams like Middle, WKU, and ODU. WKU had an offensive efficiency rating of 126. That was the second highest given up by UNT and the third highest for WKU.

  4. When WKU went on their run Smart disappeared. Smart only took 2 shots during that run. He eventually made a 3 with 9:38 left in the game. At that time WKU was already up by 12 and the Smart 3 cut it 9. Smart has to be more assertive during opponents runs.  He is the one guy that North Texas depends on to score.

  5. North Texas allowed 42 points in the paint. Not acceptable.

  6. I love that both Jorden Duffy and Draper continue to fire away. They are going to need both of those dudes scoring in Frisco. Duffy isn’t there yet mentally, but he hasn’t been afraid to continue shooting. Duffy hit a big 3, and Draper hit a couple of them last night. I continue to believe that having both Duffy and Draper playing at a high level by Frisco will make UNT the most dangerous lower seed.

  7. One thing that UNT can’t do against the best teams in CUSA is turn the ball over and take bad shots.  Those type of possessions lead to easy offense. UNT gave up too many easy possessions last night.

  8. Most of the fan base feels pretty good about where North Texas is at right now. They’ve beat UAB, lost a tough one to Middle and WKU. One of the most popular opinions is to complement the effort that Coach McCasland is getting out of this team. That’s just a testament of how bad things were under Tony Benford. For me I’ve always expected the effort from this team. It was a lot of new guys, and I knew that Coach McCasland wouldn’t accept anything less than a really competitive effort. So I won’t really ever be complementing effort. Coach McCasland is one of the highest paid coaches in the league, and with good reason. I believe he is one of the best. So what I want to see is him coaching execution. That is what I will complement this team on. One thing I do admire is not really the effort, but the ability for this UNT team to climb back in games when there looks to be no hope.  Some teams have that uncanny ability to make a few plays and buckets to climb back in games. That is this North Texas team. They are never out of it.

  9. WKU is the one team that I believe that North Texas can’t beat. I just feel like its a bad match-up. Middle is the best team, but WKU has the most talent. They can pretty much score at every position. Their athleticism stood out last night. They got stops when they needed, and got buckets when they needed.

  10. North Texas is in a position now where they are 2 games back of Marshall in the battle for the 4th seed, and a bye in Frisco. They must win on Saturday, and really NT needs to win out. Marshall has games left against ODU, UAB, and Middle so they have the tougher schedule, but UNT needs to keep the pressure on them.

Player Grades


Player Game Grade
Roosevelt Smart B +
Ryan Woolridge C +
AJ Lawson B +
Allante Holston C –
Zachary Simmons B +
DJ Draper B –
Khalil Fuller B
Tope Arikawe B

Players with 10 minutes + get graded.

Next up for North Texas is Marshall on Saturday, February 17th in Denton.

Basketball Basketball Recaps CUSA Stuff

Dropping Dimes – 10 Thoughts Recapping NT vs. FAU

North Texas got a much needed win. The Mean Green took down FAU 59-53.

  1. It was never pretty in this game. It was down right ugly basketball for most of the night, by both teams. Credit North Texas for finding a way to win without a serious contribution from Roosevelt Smart. Smart was saddled with 3 fouls early in the 1st half, and then picked up his 4th foul early in the second. Some how UNT found enough ways to score more than FAU.

  2. From the get go Ryan Woolridge was more assertive on the offensive end. He needs to do that from here on out. He needs to be the second leading scorer for North Texas on most every night.

  3. AJ Lawson provided some offense that I was not expecting. Lawson even hit a 3. I don’t encourage him shooting 3’s, but his offensive output was necessary with Smart being in foul trouble. North Texas had to get it from some where. Lawson got to the basket, and was able to finish on numerous occasions. Good for him.

  4. Where has Shane Temara gone? He is a SR leader on this team, and NT needs him to step his game up.  18 minutes 0-11, 1 reb, 1 block. That isn’t going to cut it. If NT is going to have any chance at all of making some noise in Frisco they need their SR to play like one.

  5. Zach Simmons and Tope Arkiawe are two nice players. Simmons has played well for a FR. He has had his moment on defense where you can tell he is FR. But he has also had key plays in a lot of UNT victories. Tope has really stepped up his game in conference play. His play off the bench has been very important.

  6. North Texas had 16 offensive boards against FAU. Pretty great effort against a team that way a very good defensive rebounding team. Now the down fall is that NT was only able to turn that in 13 second chance points. North Texas is 4th in conference play with 11.4 offensive rebounds per game. Rebounding as a whole has been a pleasant surprise for NT this year. I think many believed that a guard heavy lineup would struggle to rebound. Woolridge, Smart, Holston, Lawson have all chipped in. Those 4 combined for 22 of the 43 rebounds against FAU. In conference play they are accounting for 46% of the rebounds.

  7. North Texas continues to struggle around the basket. I stopped counting how many bunnies the Mean Green failed to convert last night. I really hope that’s a point of emphasis in practice. NT left at least another 10 points out there because they couldn’t finish.

  8. 70%. North Texas hit the sweet spot I set for them. 70 % from the free throw line was a welcome sight. The last time UNT shot 70% and above was against Rice, which happened to be the last time they won. North Texas has only shot around 70% 3 times in conference play. All 3 have been wins.

  9. I think it was some sort of blessing in disguise that Smart had to sit for most of this game. As of coach you never want your best offensive weapon to be on the bench, but it forced this young NT team to focus on offensive execution. A guy like Smart can bail out a bad possession with a deep 3 or a drive to the basket. Last night NT had to find ways to score with out Smart. Guys like Lawson were able to step up to fill the void.

  10. FAU is going to look back on this game and slap themselves in the face. FAU had every opportunity to take it. It seemed like North Texas was trying to give the game away at times. FAU failed to take advantage of Smart being in foul trouble. Instead of going to a zone and packing it in they stayed in man and let Woolridge and Lawson get to the basket. Then late in the game they fouled Smart when he wasn’t going to get it across halfcourt in time. The little things matter in all games. They really stand out in close games. NT will take a W no matter how it looks.

Player Grades


Player Game Grade
Shane Temara F
Roosevelt Smart C –
Ryan Woolridge B +
DJ Draper C +
AJ Lawson B +
Allante Holston C –
Tope Arikawe C +
Zachary Simmons B

Players with 10 minutes + get graded.

Next up for North Texas is FIUon Saturday, January 27th in Denton.