North Texas Daily

Column: Men’s basketball wasted a perfectly good season

Column: Men’s basketball wasted a perfectly good season

Column: Men’s basketball wasted a perfectly good season
February 26
16:53 2019

The North Texas men’s basketball program began their season with a roaring start of 16-1. Students, faculty and alumni had hopes that this team would  run away with the Conference USA title, but those hopes have vanished.

Now, the Mean Green sit at sixth in C-USA standings and they will not play the upper echelon of competition in pool play. They will play No.7 Marshall  No.8, Florida Atlantic who finished eighth, No.9  Florida International and No.10 Louisiana Tech who finished tenth in the C-USA Bonus Play. They should be playing the likes of Old Dominion, Western Kentucky, Southern Miss, Texas-San Antonio and Alabama-Birmingham, who finished No. 1-5 in the conference.

The irony of it all is that North Texas has a better overall record in comparison to every time except Old Dominion. This means that the Mean Green have the second-best record overall in C-USA, but will have to play the middle of the pack teams, meaning a harder road to the championship.

If the Mean Green had won one of their close games against either Texas San-Antonio, Alabama-Birmingham or Western Kentucky, they would’ve had a real shot to win the C-USA regular season.

One win out of those last three games and they would be in the top five. Losses to Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky and Florida International doomed a season that seemed like it would be a huge success.

How can a team with multiple guys scoring north of double-figures start out 16-1 and now sit 20-7? Did they let their great start get to their heads? Was the team who started 16-1 not the real team? Is the team who has gone 4-6 since then the real Mean Green? The Jekyll and Hyde aspect of this team is a puzzling story, showing how one team got off to such a hot start but froze off too quick.

The players on the team don’t seem to be the issue. Roosevelt Smart was nominated to the preseason C-USA team and Ryan Woolridge has been a revelation for the Mean Green, so why has this team not lived up to the potential?

Injuries. Injuries. And yes, more injuries.

Woolridge has missed a game, Smart has missed seven games and Jorden Duffy has missed eight games. That’s 60 percent of the starting lineup missing valuable and crucial time. But this is not an excuse and the next-man-up mentality needs to be present. Head coach Grant McCasland has done a marvelous job so far as head coach, but his toughest challenge might be getting this team to win the C-USA postseason tournament.

If the Mean Green can somehow win that tournament, then they will earn an automatic bid to play meaningful basketball in March. Brackets would be filled out with potential upsets featuring North Texas.

This team got off to such a roaring start that it’s very feasible that the start was not who this team really is. Injuries derailed the team and with your best players missing time, you’re going to have to adjust.

Even if they recover, consider this season wasted like a student on Fry Street.

Featured Image: Mean Green head coach Grant McCasland talks to redshirt freshman guard Umoja Gibson during a timeout at the game against Western Kentucky at the Super Pit on Feb. 9, 2019. Image by: Trevon McWilliams. 

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Dillon Swan

Dillon Swan

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