Opponent: North Texas Mean Green
Date: Saturday, November 28
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network +
A year ago these teams faced off in a usual defensive battle for the Razorbacks. The Hogs won 66-43 against the eventual Conference USA Champs. North Texas out-rebounded the Razorbacks, but the defense was swarming to keep UNT from scoring. The Mean Green shot 33.3% from the field and just 2-17 from 3 in that game.
Both Arkansas and North Texas are coming off blowout wins against Mississippi Valley State.
The Mean Green (1-0)
Head Coach Grant McCasland continues to impress in Denton. McCasland interviewed for the Arkansas job when Eric Musselman was hired. He has been successful at every stop. In JUCO and Division II, he made deep runs in the national tournament. In 1 season at Arkansas State, he went 20-12. Now in year 4 at North Texas, he is looking for his 4th 20 win season.
The Mean Green only lose 1 contributor in Umoja Gibson, but return Conference USA Player of the Year, Javion Hamlet. Hamlet was recruited heavily by Mike Anderson to come to Arkansas before he was fired. Hamlet is a special player. He along with 6-10 big man Zachary Simmons, senior guard James Reese, and JUCO transfer Mardrez McBride will lead the Mean Green this season.
In their only game to date against Mississippi Valley State, UNT won 116-62. McBride and Reese both had 21 points. While Javion Hamlet scored 13 points and dished out 11 assists.
The Mean Green will contend for the Conference USA title again. There’s no question about that. Western Kentucky is the likely favorite right now, but don’t sleep on North Texas.
The Razorbacks (1-0)
The Hogs are coming off the 2nd largest win in school history while scoring the 2nd most points in school history! While MVSU is one of the worst teams in college basketball, you still have to hit shots. The Hogs did that at an incredible clip with 20 made threes on 40 attempts.
Arkansas is facing North Texas in their 2nd game of the season just like last year. I expect a very different game this time around.
Through the Red/White game and 1 regular season game, this Arkansas squad is not gifted defensively like last year’s team. But that may not matter. The Hogs have more scorers on this roster than any team in recent history. All 9 players that I believe will see regular minutes can score the ball from all over the floor. The versatile roster we believed we had has come to light.
On Saturday, I want to see better shot selection and execution from Moses Moody. I want to see Arkansas win the rebounding battle versus a well-coached team with size. I want to see the chemistry continue to improve and the unselfish play continue.
We should see a much different game than last year’s. North Texas will get theirs, but the versatility of Arkansas will be too much.