I preempted my regular post-game basketball thoughts following the UNT women’s win over Troy last night to delve a little into the Charles Walker chase again. UNT’s chances to land the big defensive tackle took a hit when Florida defensive tackle Maquedius Bain committed to LSU after visiting Oklahoma, which is now still sitting on an open scholarship for Walker.
While football and football recruiting drives the bus around here, it is pretty good and important news that the UNT women knocked off Troy last night 87-71.
Granted, both teams are 3-10 now, but UNT is 2-2 in Sun Belt Conference play and has already made the Sun Belt Conference “Trip of Death” to Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky, where UNT never, ever, ever wins.
Arkansas-Little Rock is still the favorite to win the Sun Belt’s West Division, but UNT is in the race.
UNT played really well all the way around and appears to be figuring out how to play in Mike Petersen’s system. UNT had four players finish in double figures. Sara Stanley had 23.
Now the question is — How dose this affect UNT?
Well, it’s not good.
UNT has really struggled offensively in the halfcourt. Don’t believe me?
UNT shot 18.5 percent from the floor in the first half of a loss to Middle Tennessee in its last outing, 16.1 percent in the second half of a loss to UTA, ranks eighth in the Sun Belt in scoring offense at 67.4 points a game, eighth in field goal percentage at 39.7 percent and dead last in 3-point field goal percentage at 24.5 percent.
The reasons have been well documented. UNT has not 3-point shooting without Brandan Walton, who is out for the year with a broken foot.
Losing Jones is going to make matters worse, much worse.
Jones was the only guy UNT had who could put the ball on the floor and create in the halfcourt, where every team is packing it in to take Tony Mitchell away.
A lot of times that has seemed to be UNT’s only option in the halfcourt.
UNT used to go a a series of offensive sets when it wasn’t on the break, the sames of which anyone who at near the court at UNT over the years could recite from memory — “wheel, wheel wide, four-down, two-down, smash, smash-stagger”, et cetera.
UNT has gone to more of a motion offense and has not been as good working free for open shots as it was with a series of set plays it could run in its sleep over the last several years.
Now UNT is going to have to figure it out all over again without Jones, the one guy who could get his own shot and create for others. We will see how UNT will adjust beginning tonight in a game against Troy.
UNT’s staff has been selling its players on the fact that the schedule will come back around. It does tonight. UNT and Troy are both 0-3 in Sun Belt play.
If UNT is going to make a move, now would be the time to do it. We will see if the Mean Green can without Jones.