ReconU. Dayton BasketballRecon: North Texas

Dayton welcomes the Mean Green of North Texas to the Arena with Colorado on the horizon. Not that we are looking ahead or anything.

Another ho-hum win for Dayton, as your Flyers rolled over Drake, 78-47. UD has won their past three games by an average of twenty-four points. While the competition has been less than first-rate, that’s still some Elvis style T.C.O.B. The Flyers have won eight games by an average margin of twenty-two points, that’s impressive no matter how you slice it.

Dayton is currently fifth in offensive efficiency (114.1), first in effective field-goal percentage (62.9%) and is still the top squad in the nation as far as two-point percentage is concerned (65.6%). Even with an unremarkable shooting performance from behind the arc against Drake, Dayton is converting 39.7% of their three-pointers on the season, good enough for twenty-third in the country. While Dayton had extremely efficient offenses from 2012-2014, and even last season, this type of offensive output is unprecedented.

Year Off Rating Eff FG% 3PT% 2PT% FT% 3PA/FG A/FGM
2012-2013 113.3 (29) 50.7 (101) 34.3 (165) 50.2 (80) 77.7 (2) 40.3 (35) 58.0 (62)
2013-2014 112.7 (28) 53.0 (30) 38.4 (18) 51.1 (43) 71.7 (103) 28.6 (286) 55.1 (133)
2014-2015 113.8 (37) 52.4 (52) 37.7 (54) 50.4 (94) 68.1 (247) 31.9 (196) 51.9 (159)
2018-2019 112.1 (43) 56.1 (8) 33.2 (231) 59.5 (2) 69.0 (239) 34.5 (283) 60.0 (20)
2019-2020 114.1 (5) 62.9 (1) 39.7 (23) 65.6 (1) 72.1 (121) 44.8 (43) 62.8 (16)

As we have learned from last year, having a top ten effective percentage and two-point percentage doesn’t necessarily result in a tournament berth. Two numbers jump off the screen, grab you by the throat and call you a nancy — One, if Dayton shot the three last season as well as they are shooting it this season, they would have been in the NCAA Tournament (duh). Two, the three-point shot has become an offensive staple. In 2012-13, UD shot around 40% of their shots from behind the arc, ranking 35th in the nation. Seven seasons later, Dayton is shooting almost 45% of its field-goal attempts from the three-point line, yet the Flyers are only 43rd in the country as of this writing. There are five teams currently shooting more than half of their shots from three, the game done changed (I blame Steph Curry, obviously).

For comparison, UD’s opponent tomorrow, North Texas, is shooting 45.7% of their shots from deep, ranking 33rd in the US of A. The more you know, right? Could we see 50 three-pointers jacked up Tuesday night? It’s quite possible.

It’s difficult to gauge what to expect from North Texas. While the Mean Green are 4-6 on the season, the majority of those losses have come against Top 50 squads (VCU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah State). UNT lost 59-56 in VCU’s Cafenasium and came up just short against the Sooners, 82-80. It’s clear they have the ability to hang with superior talent, that’s sort of a backhanded compliment but a compliment nonetheless.

Here’s all you really need to know about North Texas — they play at an insanely slow pace with possessions that usually end up with a three-point attempt. Only two teams in the country play at a slower rate, Navy and Virginia. With extended possessions come the usual pitfalls — plenty of turnovers and almost a complete lack of presence at the foul-line. I don’t expect Dayton will score in the nineties in this one.

As the Flyers head into the “avoid landmines” portion of their non-conference schedule, the next IED in the form of a mid-major basketball team to make their way into UD Arena are the North Texas Mean Green. The Mean Green (what?) are currently ranked 133rd in everyone’s favorite meteorologist Ken Pomeroy’s ranking, so they aren’t quite the five-ton anchor to UD’s strength of schedule that Charleston Southern and Houston Baptist are at this point. North Texas’ not awful KenPom rating likely comes from, for lack of a better term, “good losses” to VCU and Oklahoma. The Mean Green nearly made the Richmond Rams see green, only losing by 2 in the Cafénasium and more recently losing to Oklahoma in Norman by 2 as well.

Through his first three seasons in charge of the Mean Green, head coach Grant McCasland’s teams never really pushed the pace as they hovered around the 200 rank in the country each of those seasons as far as the number of possessions per game were concerned. After some reflection this summer, apparently McCasland thought to himself, “We need to slooooow down and enjoy this here game of basketball.” This season, North Texas is averaging 62.2 possessions a game, which is 351st out of 353 NCAA Division 1 teams. 

Averaging twenty seconds per possession on offense, which is the 340th fastest in the country, North Texas tries to bleed the clock dry, hit enough shots to remain competitive and simply do not let more talented squads have the ball to score on them. Sometimes it works, more often it does not. The Mean Green seem like an average offensive and defensive team, with KenPom efficiency ratings 101.3 and 99.0 respectively, sitting right in that meaty part of the Division 1 curve.

They convert a slightly above-average 35% from the 3-point line, but after milking the clock sufficiently on a possession, the Mean Green are forced to take a lot of three-point attempts —  which account for 45% of their field-goal attempts so far this season. North Texas also rebounds the ball well on offense, cleaning up on the offensive glass on 33.2% of their opportunities, which is 54th in the country. Perimeter defense and offensive rebounding have been areas most think the Flyers could improve on, so the Mean Green could, theoretically, present a challenge.

Umoja Gibson and Javion Hamlet are the two main cogs in the North Texas offense. Gibson is a sharp shooter from the perimeter who isn’t afraid to fire away, hitting on 43.3% of his attempts from three — 58% of his field goal attempts are from behind the arc. There should be no going under on screens against him. Hamlet seems to prefer setting up teammates rather than looking for his own offense, with a solid assist rate of 27.7%. When Hamlet does look for his own shot they are typically bad shots, he attempts 60.5% of his field goal attempts from the midrange but is only hitting on 37% of them. Zachary Simmons and Deng Geu are the Mean Green (Mean Greeners? Mean Green Men? I don’t know) that the Flyers will need to keep off the glass. Simmons is 23rd in the country in offensive rebounding rate at 15.3%, while Geu ranks 59th in defensive rebounding rate at 25.8%. Geu is also a threat to block shots, with a block rate of 4.8%.

Another game, another thoughtless prediction. As I said last time, there doesn’t appear to be a game left on the schedule that would behoove me to predict a loss, I just don’t see it. I foresaw a slow start against Drake and my gut instinct proved correct. (I’m going to level with you, I just threw that against the wall and hoped it would stick).

Even our guy KenPom has UD winning out at this point.

Now we all know Dayton is going to lose a handful of games this season, it’s inevitable. If Duke is capable of losing at home to Stephen Fucking Austin, certainly Dayton will presumably lay an egg on the road against a Richmond or a George Mason. It’s going to happen, just not anytime soon. Flyers beat North Texas, 71-59.

After Dayton beats up on the Mean Green take a look at more college basketball picks ats from BetQL.

Tom Blackburn

Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.

https://i2.wp.com/www.blackburnreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/hartsock.jpg?fit=200%2C225&ssl=1
https://i1.wp.com/www.blackburnreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/PPAD.png?fit=250%2C250&ssl=1
https://i0.wp.com/www.blackburnreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Golden-Corral-Logo.png?fit=250%2C250&ssl=1