No Time For Congrats, Prairie View Is Coming To Denton
North Texas vs. Prairie View A&M - Tuesday, Dec. 23 - 7 p.m.
North Texas (6-4) vs. Prairie View (1-10 - SWAC)
DENTON - The North Texas coaches and players would love nothing more than to take a week off to congratulate each other for knocking off Big East power Creighton on Sunday. But there's no time for pats on the back, as the Mean Green has to regroup and defend the Super Pit against Prairie View A&M on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Prairie View has appeared in two straight SWAC Tournament title games. In 2014, the Panthers shocked the rest of the league by advancing to the championship game despite entering the tournament with just eight wins on the season and as the eighth seed. Texas Southern, who recently knocked off Michigan State in East Lansing, stopped the Panthers' NCAA Tournament dreams with a 78-73 win in the title game.
Despite just 250 miles between Denton and Prairie View A&M's Houston campus this will be the first regular season meeting between the Mean Green and the Panthers. The Panthers are off to a 1-10 start, although their losses have been to top-flight competition. Five of those losses came on the road to RPI top 100 teams, including two teams (Oklahoma St. & Baylor) in the top 30.
The Panthers will have to contend with the stifling zone defense of North Texas. NT leads C-USA and ranks 32nd in the country with a defensive field goal percentage of 37.. In fact, five of NT's 10 opponents have been held under 35 percent from the floor - including the Bluejays, which entered the game ranked ninth in the country in made 3-pointers.
NT is off to a 6-4 start for the first time since `10-11. Only four NT teams in the last 35 years won more in their opening 10 games.