10:41 p.m. - North Texas will face UALR tomorrow night at 6 p.m. for the Sun Belt Conference Championship and a automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans defeated MTSU 65-56 in the semifinal.
9:29 p.m. - With what little voice Steven Bartolotta can muster up, he has just reported to me that he is three for three so far in the predictions that he posted this morning and that he is sticking with the MTSU win in this game. It is interesting to point out that if we do play Middle Tennessee, every opponent that the Mean Green has faced in this tournament has been from the SBC Eastern Division and are all teams that North Texas lost to in the regular season.
9:24 p.m.- UALR leads Middle Tennessee 27-19 at halftime of the second semifinal game. If you remember all the way back to Tuesday, North Texas played at UALR in a rescheduled game and won 72-69.
8:55 p.m. - We'd like to send out a Special thanks to North Texas Alum Eric McDuffie who owns the Little Caesars Pizza in Hot Springs, Arkanasas. Eric donated the post game meal for the Mean Green Pep Band, Cheerleaders and Dancers. Thank you Eric McDuffie for your support of Head Coach Johnny Jones and Mean Green Basketball.vv
Little Caesars Pizza
1311 Albert Pike Rd
Hot Springs, AR 71913
8:44 p.m.- Well the story is up and the second game has begun. UALR leads MTSU 7-5 with 13:40 left to play. Looking back at the Mean Green victory, North Texas' seniors have been playing with the motivation and passion that everyone expected and then some. Tristan Thompson is having one of the best SBC Tournaments in history and it doesn't phase any of the other guys, who have also stepped it up. Josh White played great and hit those huge shots at crucial times as he has for most of his career and George Odufuwa, Shannon Shorter and Dominique Johnson are just icing on the cake. Just a gutsy performance from a great group of guys yet again.
7:55 p.m. - Mean Green dominate the second half and advance to SBC Tournament final with 81-62 win over WKU. More to come...
7:47 p.m. - North Texas is going to take this one all the way to the Sun Belt Conference Final as the Mean Green lead 74-55 with 1:20 left.
7:42 p.m. - Under four media time-out is upon us and the Mean Green currently have a 68-53 lead with 3:37 to play.
7:35 p.m.- Per his normal clutch nature, Josh White just nailed a three ball from the corner to bring the NT lead to 65-53 with 4:44 left. Thompson is at the charity stripe for two shots. He currently has 27 points and is just three points shy of the SBC Tournament record for total points scored of 82.
7:31 p.m. - Time is ticking away in this one and the Mean Green lead 62-51 with 7:03 left.
7:19 p.m. - Josh White just converted a huge lay-up and got the foul call to send us to the second media break. He'll be on the line for the three point play when play resumes. Mean Green now lead 59-47 with 11:37 left.
7:12 p.m. - Made it to the first media time-out here at the Summit Arena and the Mean Green have opened up a slight lead on the Hilltoppers 52-45. Thompson now has 22 points with Odufuwa right behind him with 14.
7:01 p.m. - We're ready to start the second half. WKU will start witht he basketball down only one to North Texas.
6:46 p.m. - The Mean Green are taking a 40-39 lead into the break! This is a GREAT game.
6:42 p.m. - The torrid scoring pace continues as both of these teams are shooting the lights out. Mean Green are shooting 50 percent while the Hilltoppers are currently at 52 percent. WKU leads 37-36.
6:30 p.m. - With two made free throws tonight, Tristan Thompson has set a new Sun Belt Conference Tournament Record for free throws made during the enitre tournament with 27 so far.
6:22 p.m. - After knocking down two more trey's, Thompson, who has 18 tonight, has now scored 54 points in the last 30 mins of game play. Mean Green lead 30-20 with a little over 10 minutes to play in the first half.
6:13 p.m. - First media timeout is here and all I can say is WOW. North Texas comes out on fire, hitting 8-of-9 from the field and jumping to an 18-11 lead with 15:24 left. Thompson and Odufuwa have eight points each.
6:07 p.m. - It's game on here at Summit Arena and the teams are trading baskets. Tristan Thompson has hit his first two three-pointers to give the Mean Green a slim 8-5 lead with 18:45 left in the first.
6:01 p.m. - The teams are on the floor and we're just minutes away. Starting line-ups feature Odufuwa, White, Thompson, Shorter and Hogans for the Mean Green. WKU counters with Crook, Dickerson, Kerusch, Patillo and Pettigrew.
5:43 p.m. - Hank Dickenson interviews Coach Jones for the Mean Green Radio Network before the WKU game.
5:33 p.m. - The teams are on the court warming up for the game. This is what it looked like when the Mean Green made their first trip from the locker room to the court tonight.
5:22 p.m. - Last year, before the semi-final game, Hank Dickenson caught up with the Voice of the Dallas Cowboys Brad Sham in the media room. Tonight is the semi-final game. Guess who we ran into in the media room tonight
4:53 p.m. - The entire MGRN and sports info. staff is in the house and ready to rock. The coaches and players beginning to wander out from the locker rooms and to courtside for their pre game prep. We're a little over an hour away from this semifinal tip-off now.
4:21 p.m. - The last women's game just wrapped up and they're cleaning out the arena for tonights session. The Mean Green will tip-off from the Summit Arena in a little over an hour and a half against the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky. WKU beat West No. 2 ULL yesterday afternoon as North Texas took down the top seeded Owls of FAU. The Hilltoppers defeated the Mean Green 87-76 in Bowling Green, Ky., in the only match-up between the two teams this season.
1:58 p.m. - Stephen Bartolotta just wrapped up his first game of the day, his ninth of the tournament, a 55-47 Western Kentucky women's victory over Arkansas State. To give you an idea of what it's like down here, we shot a quick Flip video of Steven in action during this game. Our fascination with Big Red continues as he took a moment to say hi to the Green Gang during starting lineups of this game. It's worth noting that these courtside seats can be dangerous. While preparing those videos, Jordan Foreman was hit in the shoulder by a basketball flying out of bounds. But that's nothing compared to what happened last night at the Convention Center court. North Texas women's basketball PA announcer Rob Coffee was providing public address services for that court when a Middle Tennessee player went flying over the scorers table and knocked Rob to the ground. Don't worry, he's here in the arena today and says he's okay.
1:43 p.m. - When you're at an arena watching a lot of games that don't feature the mean Green you have to find ways to have some fun. I just got David Waxman on the video board as a member of the Sun Belt cameo piece and everyone got a good laugh. Steven is wrapping up the first game of the day right now as WKU leads ASU 50-47 with a little over two minutes left.
12:57 p.m. - Life at a conference tournament can be tricky for the support staff as well. Usually, when on the road, the Sports Information Director sends over his game notes to his or her counterpart at the opposing school a day or so before, and the host insitution makes copies for the media to use. However, life gets tricky for men's basketball SID Stephen Howard now. After updating his game notes after the game last night, he had no place to make copies. The copiers here at the arena have been tied up making copies for this game, so Stephen had to take one of the Enterprise rental cars that the Mean Green have here--usually something you don't have on the road--and headed to the local Kinko's to make his copies. Inquiring media will have their Mean Green basketball facts!
12:39 p.m. - Media hospitality features sandwiches and brocoli & cheese soup today. It about 40 degress when we got up this morning, so the warm soup was a welcomed by much of our media staff here.
12:18 p.m. - Looking back on last night's victory against FAU, you have to give credit to North Texas' rebounding for keeping the Mean Green in the game, especially in the first half. FAU was limited to a single offensive rebound in the first half, a tip-in by Greg Gantt. In the first half, 17 shots were missed on North Texas' side of the floor, and the Mean Green grabbed a remarkable seven offensive boards and scored 11 second chance points. Limiting FAU to one shot per trip in the first half probably saved North Texas' tournament life.
11:38 a.m. - Okay before I head off for another marathon day of webcasting here are my official predictions for the women's and men's semifinals. WKU beats ASU's women and UALR beats FIU's girls setting up a WKU-UALR final. On the men's side, NT beats WKU, MTSU wins over UALR, and its a North Texas-MTSU championship. Take it to the bank, vegas, or the south side of Denton.
11:34 a.m. - Avid fans of the Mean Green and this blog will remember Hank Dickenson and Steven Bartolotta having a run-in with Big Red, the Western Kentucky mascot, last year in Hot Spring (click here for the video). It appears that Steven has buried the hatchet, as he and Media Relations Assistant Ryan Kasmiersky pose with Big Red as he walks into the Summit Arena for the women's game this morning.
11:07 a.m. - Mean Green fans it's time to pack up and head up to Hot Springs to cheer on your North Texas men's basketball team against Western Kentucky tonight! There is still enough time to make it up here before the game starts, but you have to leave soon!
10:57 a.m. - It's a little hard to believe that North Texas won a huge contest at the Convention Center Court just last night when we walk over there. Crews have already taken up most of the floor, and Sun Belt officals are packing up the signage for next year as the space returns to a regular exhibit hall.
10:36 a.m. - At the Summit Arena for Day 3 of tournament action. ESPN is doing some final wiring courtside, and some of the coaches for the first women's game are already sitting on the benches.
A quick update on Steven Bartolotta: he has done play-by-play for eight games in the last two days for SunBeltSports.org and has four more to go today. By the time tonight's games wrap up, he will have called 12 games in approximately 59 hours. He just informed me that he intends to take a vow of silence for a few weeks once the tournament is over.