Home Tilts With Creighton, Iona Highlight Challenging Hoops Slate

Sept. 2, 2014


DENTON - North Texas head coach Tony Benford released the non-conference portion of the 2014-15 men's basketball schedule, which will pit the Mean Green against arguably its toughest slate since the debut of the Ratings Percentage Index.

For the first time since 1988-89, and for just the third time since the RPI came into existence in 1980, North Texas will host two non-conference opponents that finished the previous season with an RPI of 62 or better. The Mean Green will host Creighton (RPI 17) and Iona (RPI 62), and will also face four other non-conference opponents that finished last season inside the RPI top 130: Arkansas (RPI 67), Oklahoma State (RPI 52), Stephen F. Austin (RPI 47) and Texas Tech (RPI 130).

When combined with the Conference USA league games, the Mean Green will suit up 14 times against squads that won at least 18 games in 2013-14, including 11 20-game winners. In his tenure at North Texas, Benford has scheduled 31 teams that participated the postseason the previous year, which are nearly as many as the combined seven Mean Green schedules prior to his arrival (33 from 2005-06 through 2011-12).

"This is a very challenging schedule that I think our fans will really enjoy," Benford said. "We are excited to have two great returners in Jordan Williams and Colin Voss, who will give our team the leadership to take on arguably the toughest schedule in Conference USA. We are going to need the help of our students and fans to pack the Super Pit and make it one of the nation's loudest college basketball arenas."

Tradition-rich Creighton has captured the nation's attention in recent years, and will make its return to the Super Pit on Dec. 21. The Bluejays advanced to the NCAA Tournament's third round in each of the last three seasons, and finished their 2013-14 campaign with 27 wins and the National Player of the Year award for senior Doug McDermott, who went No. 11 in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Creighton leads the all-time series with North Texas, 5-4, but the Mean Green is 2-0 against the Bluejays in Denton. The last matchup in Denton saw NT win a thriller, 108-105, on Feb. 26, 1977. No. 16-ranked Creighton took the last game in the series, 71-51, in Omaha, Neb., to open the 2012-13 season.

Iona, the NCAA national leader with 10.2 three-pointers made per game in 2013-14, will bring its scorching offense to the Super Pit on Nov. 23. The only team in the nation to have four players connect on more than 60 three-pointers, the Gaels led the country in scoring in both 2012 and 2013, and finished fourth last season with 83.6 points per game.

The Gaels won the MAAC regular-season championship last season but fell in the league tournament title game to Manhattan. Louisiana Tech downed Iona in the opening round of the NIT, 89-88, on a last-second tip-in from Kenneth Smith.

Other postseason participants on the Mean Green schedule include Arkansas (NIT), Oklahoma State (NCAA), Stephen F. Austin (NCAA), UTEP (CBI), Old Dominion (CBI), LA Tech (NIT) and Southern Miss (NIT).

North Texas will open the season against Arkansas-Monticello on Nov. 14, and will also host Nicholls State (Nov. 17), Delaware State (Nov. 19), Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 26), Langston (DISD Day, Dec. 17) and Prairie View A&M (Dec. 23) in non-conference play. The Mean Green will also host Oklahoma City in exhibition play on Nov. 10.



North Texas Mean Green