The Oklahoma Sooners had a rough go of things in the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Classic, but they were fortunately able to take something positive away from the trip in the form of a win over Missouri. Now, OU will look to build a bit of momentum as they take on the North Texas Mean Green down in Denton.
First true road game of the year.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) December 5, 2019
Getting our mindset right at shootaround. pic.twitter.com/pOOm59MTfI
Oklahoma (6-1) vs. North Texas (3-5): 7 p.m. CT at the UNT Coliseum aka The Super Pit (Denton, Texas)
Commentary: Ben Holden, Avery Johnson and Ashley Holder
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing
Line: Oklahoma -6.5 (as of 4:50 p.m. CT)
About North Texas
- The Mean Green are coached by Grant McCasland, who is in his third season at the helm of the program. In his debut season in Denton, McCasland led the program to a 20-18 record en route to a CBI Tournament title, and he followed that up with a 21-12 (8-10 CUSA) campaign in 2018-19. In his only other previous season (2016-17) as the leader of a program, he coached Arkansas State to a 20-12 (11-7) record and a third-place finish in the Sun Belt Conference.
- Through eight games, Mean Green have picked up wins over Oklahoma Christian (listed on ESPN and the ESPN app as ‘Edmond’), North Carolina A&T and UT-Arlington while falling to VCU, Arkansas, Eastern Michigan, Rhode Island and Utah State. It’s worth noting that VCU and Utah State were top-25 teams at the time of the defeats, and UNT was competitive in each game.
- UNT is led in scoring by 6’1” sophomore guard Umoja Gibson, who is averaging 14.3 PPG and connecting on 40 percent of his three-point attempts. He’s the team’s only player averaging double figures scoring, with forward Deng Geu and guard Javion Hamlet averaging 9.5 and 9.4 PPG, respectively.
- The Mean Green are No. 162 in KenPom’s efficiency ratings, sitting at No. 211 offensively and No. 126 defensively. Additionally, UNT is No. 351 in adjusted tempo, making them the third-slowest team in Division I basketball in terms of pace of play.
- Homecoming for Harmon: Freshman De’Vion Harmon, a product of Denton’s Guyer High School, which is approximately seven miles from UNT’s campus. Because of this, you can expect a large contingent of friends and family in the building supporting Harmon and the Sooners. Through seven games, the former four-star recruit hasn’t lit up the stat sheet (8.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 2.6 APG), but his steady presence at the point guard position has been vital, and the individual numbers will eventually come.
- Reaves stands out: Through seven games, redshirt junior and Wichita State transfer Austin Reaves is leading the team with 17.0 PPG. However, it’s his transformation into a more complete players that has truly left an impression thus far. In Oklahoma’s win over Missouri, Reaves recorded his first career double-double with a 19-point, 10-rebound performance at the Sprint Center. He currently sits at No. 5 in the Big 12 in scoring average and No. 2 among Big 12 newcomers. Also:
Special OU men’s basketball update: Austin Reaves cut his hair— Abby Bitterman (@abby_bitterman) December 5, 2019
- First true road game: While this is technically Oklahoma’s first true road game, the Sooners have played three de facto road contests up to this point, as OU has faced Minnesota in Sioux Falls, S.D., Oregon State in Portland and Missouri in Kansas City. Additionally, the Sooners will likely have a nice little contingent in “The Super Pit”, so I’m not envisioning any real issues with the environment.
While UNT’s 3-5 record does’t tell the whole story, I like Oklahoma to cover after such a long period of recuperation.
Oklahoma 74, North Texas 62