North Texas (1-0) at Oklahoma (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 11, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma. Home Record: NT 1-0, OU 0-0. Away Record: NT 0-0, OU 0-0. Neutral Record: NT 0-0, OU 1-0. Conference Record: NT 0-0, OU 0-0. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The North Texas Mean Green and Oklahoma Sooners are set to square off in a Coaches vs. Cancer matchup at the Lloyd Noble Center on Monday.
North Texas improved to 1-0 on Friday with a 72-67 victory over NAIA foe Northwood in Denton. Coach Tony Benford's squad struggled from beyond the arc, finishing 3-of-17 from behind the 3-point line in the contest. Although the Mean Green lost their star forward Tony Mitchell, who was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, they have high hopes to improve upon last season's 12-20 record that was highly affected by injuries, including the starting backcourt of Brandan Walton and Chris Jones, who played a combined total of only 15 games. NT was one of the worst outside shooting teams in the nation last year, hitting on only 28.5 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. It will need to perform better if it hopes to make a splash in its first season in the Conference USA.
Oklahoma overcame a 16-point deficit in its season opener en route to an 82-73 win over Alabama at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Coach Lon Kruger's unit is fresh off its first 20-win season since the 2008-09 campaign, but has a lot to replace from that team to soar to the same heights. Although the Sooners failed to grab a rebound until the 13:19 mark of the first half, they held a 38-37 edge on the boards over the Crimson Tide at the conclusion of the contest. Oklahoma's offensive production was superb considering Alabama allowed only 58.4 points per game in 2012-13.
This will be the fifth meeting in history between NT and Oklahoma. The Sooners own a 3-1 all-time series lead thanks to their 100-72 win over the Mean Green on Dec. 9, 2000, which was the most recent encounter between the schools.
In his first game back since suffering a season-ending injury in last season's opener, Walton scored 13 points for NT versus Northwood. Alzee Williams led the team with 22 points, including 16 after halftime. Jones added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in the victory. Jordan Williams also made an impact with nine points and 10 rebounds. Although the hard-fought win over an NAIA opponent does not seem like an ideal start to the campaign, Northwood is one of the top programs in its division, ranking fifth among NAIA programs.
Sophomore guard Buddy Hield appears to ready for a breakout season after netting 7.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a rookie for the Sooners. Hield led Oklahoma's attack versus Alabama with a career-high 19 points on 7- of-14 shooting from the floor. He also added six rebounds and three steals. Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler had a sensational program debut with a double- double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Gonzaga transfer also registered a pair of steals. Cameron Clark had a solid all-around performance as well, contributing 14 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Freshman point guard Jordan Woodard had trouble in his first collegiate outing as he went 2- of-11 from the field. Woodard still managed to produce 10 points and seven assists against just two turnovers in 34 minutes of action.
Woodard will get better as the season goes along for the Sooners, who clearly hold the upper hand going into this bout. The Mean Green will need to resolve their long-range shooting woes to stand a chance, but they will need time to rebuild the chemistry they once had before injuries tore their team apart. Oklahoma will not need to rally back from a huge deficit as it should be able to control this one from start to finish.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 90, North Texas 71
11/11 10:37:39 ET