A couple of basketball tidbits, thoughts on UNT’s schedule

Benford

UNT released the nonconference portion of its basketball schedule today. I posted the full rundown at the bottom of this entry.

Most people who are interested have probably gone through it by now. We reported earlier that Creighton and Iona would be on this year’s slate, and they are.

I talked with Tony Benford for a couple of minutes about the schedule today. He believes it’s the best schedule UNT has put together in the last 20 years.

UNT does play some really good teams. Iona isn’t a household name, but that team won 22 games last year. For what it’s worth, USA Today has Iona at No. 54 on its countdown of teams that will make the NCAA tournament.

Creighton is always a good and will be again.

Throw in Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech and it’s not hard to see that UNT has its work cut out for it. And that doesn’t even take into account the Conference USA slate.

Granted, there are the annual cupcakes throw in (Every team does it. It’s the nature of the beast) with Arkansas-Monticello, Nicholls State, Langston and Prairie View A&M.

What UNT really needed was a marquee home game to sell and landed one in Creighton. Iona is really good, but the casual fan is going to have no idea that is the case.

The key now is to win a big game, preferably at home.

This is a big year for the future of UNT’s program. We will get to how many games the Mean Green can realistically win once we have an idea of what UNT has in terms of its team because quite frankly, I don’t think anyone has an idea at this point.

My gut feeling is that UNT is going to miss Alzee Williams and his 11 points a game, not to mention a point guard with experience in Chris Jones. UNT really likes a bunch of its newcomers and believes guys like T.J. Taylor and Maurice Aniefiok will take off in their second year in the program. They had better do just that. The season is largely riding on a couple of guys stepping forward to complement Jordan Williams.

And while we are on the topic of basketball, I did ask about the status of J-Mychal Reese. The Texas A&M transfer point guard was working out with UNT on the first day of individual drills.

Benford said that UNT is still waiting on word from the NCAA on his appeal for immediate eligibility with the Mean Green. Benford would not disclose what UNT’s appeal is based on, but the Mean Green would look a whole lot better with him on the floor.

Reese is a top-level point guard who played six games at A&M last season before being dismissed in the days before the start of the second semester. Chris Jones, UNT’s starter last year, transferred to Angelo State and Williams graduated.

UNT brought in a host of new players, but without Reese the only true point guard on the roster will be Todd Eaglin. UNT likes the former Tyler JC guard, but going into the season without another point guard would be a huge roll of the dice.

We will just have to wait and see what happens.

UNT men’s basketball schedule.

November
10 Oklahoma City ^
14 Arkansas-Monticello
17 Nicholls State
19 Delaware State
23 Iona
26 Mississippi Valley State
28 at Arkansas
December
3 at Oklahoma State
14 at Stephen F. Austin
17 Langston
21 Creighton
23 Prairie View A&M
29 at Texas Tech
January
2 UTEP *
4 UTSA *
10 at Rice *
15 at Charlotte *
17 at Old Dominion *
22 Louisiana Tech *
24 Southern Miss *
31 Rice *
February
5 at Western Kentucky *
7 at Marshall *
12 UAB *
14 Middle Tennessee *
19 at Florida Atlantic *
21 at Florida International *
26 Charlotte *
28 Old Dominion *
March
5 at UTEP *
7 at UTSA *

^Exhibition game

*Conference USA game

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