Lehigh Home Date Headlines Men's Hoops Slate
Mean Green Men's Hoops Team Facing Nation's Best On 2012-13 Schedule
2012-13 Men's Basketball Schedule
Download This Year's Season Ticket Info
2012 NIT Season Tip-Off Bracket
DENTON, Texas – North Texas head basketball coach Tony Benford has released the 2012-13 schedule, which is chock full of top-tier talent and features a home showdown against NCAA Tournament darling and Patriot League champions Lehigh on Dec. 20.
Benford has the Mean Green slated to potentially play six squads that finished last season inside the RPI top 110, and 10 games against teams that reached the postseason in 2011-12. Those teams combined to win seven postseason games in the NCAA and NIT tournaments. In fact, Lehigh became just the sixth No. 15 seed to knock off a No. 2 seed when the Mountain Hawks (27-8) downed Duke, 75-70, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Mean Green, which has averaged 21 victories per season over the last six years, will host four of those postseason teams in UT Arlington (Nov. 28), Lehigh (Dec. 20), Middle Tennessee (Jan. 24) and Western Kentucky (Feb. 7).
“Our philosophy is to play the best teams that college basketball has to offer,” Benford said. “When you’ve been as good as North Texas has been over the last few years, and you have a player like Tony Mitchell, it makes scheduling games a little tougher. Still, we are committed to bringing our fans top quality opponents that will battle test our players for the Sun Belt and the NCAA Tournament.”
The Mean Green will play in the NIT Season Tip Off for the first time in school history, and will be placed in the Manhattan, Kan. Regional. NT will open against Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 12, and on Nov. 13 could potentially play host Kansas State, an NCAA Tournament Third Round squad a year ago, or Southland Conference champion Lamar, which is led by head coach Pat Knight. Alabama-Huntsville (29-4) will be the first Division II school to play in the tournament after advancing to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight last season.
In non-conference action, North Texas will be taking on a pair of former Missouri Valley Conference rivals in Creighton (Nov. 9) and St. Louis (Dec. 5) – and Creighton is slated to make a return trip to the Super Pit in 2014. Creighton finished the 2011-12 season ranked 19th in the nation, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Third Round. The last time North Texas opened the season against a Division-I opponent was also the last time it opened on the road – in 2002-03 with a win at Missouri State.
St. Louis, led by head coach Rick Majerus, advanced to the A-10 title game and the NCAA Tournament Third round.
“Creighton will be a top 10 team and St. Louis and Lehigh will probably be ranked in the top 25,” Benford said. “Creighton (Doug McDermott) and Lehigh (C.J. McCollum) both have potential NBA Draft Lottery picks on their rosters, and these are the types of teams we want to play year-in-year-out.”
On top of facing cross-town rival UT Arlington, NT will also host Cameron (Nov. 16), Jackson State (Dec. 8) and Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 16) at the Super Pit in non-conference games. The Mavericks won the Southland Conference regular season championship and advanced to the NIT.
With 11 Sun Belt squads, the conference slate will allow fans to see every SBC team at home as the league transitions to a home-and-home format in 2012-13. That means a pair of Sun Belt Tournament title game rematches with Western Kentucky and regular season champion Middle Tennessee.
Your first opportunity to catch the Mean Green in action will be on Nov. 1 in exhibition action against East Central at 7 p.m. at the Super Pit.