Oklahoma vs. North Texas: 7 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center
TV: FOX Sports Oklahoma
Commentary: Chad McKee and Bryndon Manzer
Live Stream: FOX Sports Go
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa), Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing
Line: Oklahoma -9 (as of 1 p.m. CT)
About North Texas
- The Mean Green is off to an 8-0 start, though their wins have come against Angelo State, Humboldt State, Portland, Hawai’i, Texas A&M Commerce, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Maine and St. Peter’s. Three of those opponents — Angelo State, Humboldt and A&M Commerce — are DII schools, while the average KenPom ranking of the five DI opponents is 274.6. Maine (No. 336 in KenPom) took the Mean Green to overtime last week.
- UNT is led by sophomore forward Zachary Simmons, who is averaging 15.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG. The Mean Green also have junior guard Roosevelt Smart back in the fold, as he recorded 13 points and four rebounds in his season debut against St. Peter’s. Smart averaged 19.5 PPG in 2017-18.
- Head coach Grant McCasland is in his second season in Denton after leading the the Mean Green to a 20-18 record and a College Basketball Invitational (CBI) championship in 2017-18. McCasland was an assistant for Scott Drew at Baylor from 2011-16, so he’s quite familiar with Kruger’s program.
- Brady Manek – Larry from the Prairie continues to be much more of a physical presence in 2018-19, but his streaky tendencies and confidence issues still appear to linger. In the Bahamas, Manek was 1-11 from three-point range and 4-20 from the field overall. It’s important that he builds confidence going into a very challenging non-conference stretch (Notre Dame, Wichita State, USC, Creighton and Northwestern await the Sooners), so a good performance against UNT could potentially help matters.
- Defense – Not everything about Oklahoma’s defensive performances has been squeaky-clean, but the effort on that end is the best I’ve seen from an OU team in years. When Dayton’s zone defensive was getting to the Sooners on the offensive end, OU’s own defensive effort turned the tide and allowed the team to leave the Caribbean on a high note. On top of the increased effort in that area, OU’s length and athleticism have been giving opponents plenty of issues. KenPom currently has the Sooners at No. 38 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
- Christian James – As a senior, James currently leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.8 PPG, and he’s been doing this with increased efficiency, as well, shooting .538 from the field and .429 from deep. When the shots haven’t fallen, he’s found other ways to score or help his team, which is a great sign that he has truly come into his own as a basketball player and a leader.