North Texas 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview
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North Texas Mean Green - Sun Belt Conference (24-8, 13-5)
Seed: #15 - West Region
Big Wins: 1/14 at Troy (75-72), 1/28 at Western Kentucky (84-83), 3/9 vs Troy (66-63)
Bad Losses: 11/28 at Boise State (73-79), 12/20 Florida International (70-80), 1/7 at Louisiana Lafayette (72-74)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, First Round loss to Memphis
Coach: Johnny Jones (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Probable North Texas Starters:
Josh White, Junior, Guard, 14.9 ppg, 3.5 apg
Shannon Shorter, Junior, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 2.2 apg
Tristian Thompson, Junior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 1.7 apg
Eric Tramiel, Senior, Forward, 13.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg
George Odufuwa, Junior, Forward, 11.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg
Key North Texas Roleplayers:
Jacob Holmen, Freshman, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Collin Mangrum, Junior, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Why The Mean Green Can Surprise:
North Texas has four great scorers who all offer the team something different. Josh White is the leader of the team and is a consistent outside shooter who will also use his speed and athleticism to attack the basket. Fellow guard Tristan Thompson is often the beneficiary of one of White’s passes. Thompson is a little less aggressive, but he will certainly do plenty of damage around the basket. Thompson is the better outside shooter of the duo and connects on 40.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
The outside shooting would not nearly be as good without the dangerous scoring duo of Eric Tramiel and George Odufuwa in the frontcourt. Tramiel, a 6-7 senior who played his first season with the Mean Green last season, is a great power forward. He is a superb scorer around the basket and has the athleticism to finish above the rim and slash his way to the basket. Tramiel is even a pretty good outside shooter and he will stretch out the defense by consistently hitting the mid-range jumper. Odufuwa is the big man under the basket. At 6-8 and 240 pounds, the junior can clear space for himself in the paint. He averages 11.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and is a tough defender to beat.
Why The Mean Green Can Disappoint:
White, Thompson, Tramiel and Odufuwa were all starters last year. The fifth starter a year ago was Dominique Johnson, but he went out for the season with an injury after playing just four games. For the most part Richard Thomas took over the starting job after Johnson’s injury. But then Thomas left the team for personal reasons. That leaves very few options for Coach Johnny Jones as far as players coming in off the bench. Jacob Holmen has had some decent outings, but the 6-8 forward is an inconsistent freshman who has seen his playing time dwindle late in the year. Collin Mangrum has had to play more minutes. The junior has been around the program for a while, but he has never had to make much of an impact until this season and it is that lack of experience off the bench that will be very damaging to UNT.
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Who To Watch for North Texas:
Shannon Shorter was the guy who stepped into the starting role after all of the injuries and defections and he has done a superb job. He is not a great scorer like the big four, but he is the glue guy that holds this team together. Shorter is not a shooter, but he will use his 6-4 frame to attack the basket and help the Mean Green out on the glass. His ability to score, pass, rebound and play great perimeter defense has made this the best starting five in the Sun Belt Conference. But those five will need help sooner or later.
North Texas By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.9 (56th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.1 (215, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.2 (49, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.2 (179, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (231, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (172, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.9 (74, 3)
Rebound Margin: 3.6 (66, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (219, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.9 (259, 11)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Kansas State