North Texas Daily

COLUMN: Expectations are high for the men’s and women’s basketball teams

COLUMN: Expectations are high for the men’s and women’s basketball teams

COLUMN: Expectations are high for the men’s and women’s basketball teams
November 15
00:02 2018

The 2018-19 NCAA basketball season is officially underway for the Mean Green men’s and women’s basketball teams. The women’s team is 1-1 so far with their loss coming to the No. 11 Texas Longhorns, while the men’s team is currently 4-0, including the tournament win at the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic in Hawaii.

But how will their records look at the end of the season?

Let’s take a look at the women’s team first: Head coach and North Texas’ all-time leading scorer Jalie Mitchell is in her fourth season coaching the Mean Green. The Mean Green finished 17-14 overall and 6-10 in conference play. Because the Mean Green plays in Conference USA, the team’s only realistic path of making the NCAA tournament is through winning the C-USA Tournament. It seems like Mitchell has North Texas moving in the right direction, with the team improving their record each year since she has taken over. I believe the trend will continue for North Texas, with the team improving its record — especially in conference play — but I do not see them winning their conference tournament.

Senior guard Terriel Bradley is clearly the Mean Green’s most valuable player, returning from leading the team in scoring last season with 18.6 points per game. I think Bradley will really shine in her last season at North Texas and will put up high scoring numbers, especially with this being her last collegiate season.

I really expect sophomore point guard Trena Mims to make a large leap from her 5.8 points per game average last season, especially considering she is already averaging 16 points per game through two games. I think she will be an excellent sidekick to Bradley, and the two will have some big moments this year and will be team’s leading forces. Mims certainly has an excellent chance of becoming this team’s alpha following Bradley’s departure after this season.

I ultimately believe the women will slightly improve their record with a final regular season 18-10 record.

Now let’s look at the North Texas men’s basketball team, which is led by second-year head coach Grant McCasland: Similar to Mitchell, it looks like McCasland has the Mean Green moving in the right direction, as the team finished 20-12 last season, a 12-win improvement from the previous season.

Just like the women’s team, the only realistic way of the team making it to March Madness is through the C-USA tournament. I think the men’s team will make a jump in McCasland’s second season by becoming a top five team in the conference, but I ultimately think the Mean Green will fall in the conference tournament and potentially receive a bid to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Junior guard Roosevelt Smart has missed the first four games due to injury, but I fully expect him to reclaim his role as the team’s leading scorer when he returns. Smart led the team in scoring in the 2017-18 season, and I think his veteran presence will certainly benefit this team in the same way Bradley will help the women’s team.

It is no secret right now that freshman guard Umoja Gibson looks to be the Mean Green’s breakout star — he is averaging 18.5 points per game through the team’s first four games. Last year, Gibson suffered a season-ending injury after only two games, but so far the injury recovery does not look to be slowing him down. I think his scoring numbers will decrease, but his breakthrough for this team will benefit North Texas, especially in conference play.

I believe the men’s team will build on their success so far in the season and finish the year 19-8, with a chance at winning the C-USA Tournament.

NCAA basketball is madness — not just in March. Predictions are no easy feat, but there is one certainty: We are in for some wildly entertaining basketball.

Featured Image: Mean Green men’s and women’s basketball teams prep for the NCAA season. Jessika Hardy

About Author

Jacob Solomon

Jacob Solomon

Business student at the University of North Texas and sports writer at the North Texas Daily.

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