Arkansas State (9-13) at North Texas (12-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 28, 1:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UNT Coliseum (10,032) -- Denton, Texas. Television: CSS, CST. Home Record: ASU 7-5, UNT 8-2. Away Record: ASU 2-8, UNT 3-6. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, UNT 1-1. Conference Record: ASU 3-5, UNT 5-3. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 20-15.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves try to gain ground on their Sun Belt Conference rivals when they head to Denton to take on the North Texas Mean Green.
Arkansas State has lost three of its eight league games thus far, including four of its last five. The Red Wolves are coming off a 66-52 loss at Denver on Thursday, which dropped them to 9-13 on the season. ASU is just 2-8 on the road.
North Texas had been one of the Sun Belt's hottest teams, having won five of six before dropping a nail-biter at Louisiana, 64-62, on Wednesday. The Mean Green currently sit at 12-9 on the year, and they are 8-2 at home.
After 35 all-time meetings, Arkansas State has a 20-15 lead in the series. The Red Wolves have captured two of the last three meetings, including a 75-72 win back on January 7 behind a Marcus Hooten three-pointer at the buzzer.
Arkansas State possesses one of the worst scoring offenses in the Sun Belt, netting just 62 ppg, and continued with that trend in the recent loss to Denver. Even though they shot an impressive 46.2 percent from the field, the Red Wolves were held to just 50 points thanks in part to 18 turnovers and connecting on just two three-pointers. Malcoln Kirkland was the only Arkansas State player to record double figures with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Kirkland is the team's best offensive threat, averaging 12.2 ppg at a 56.8 percent clip, second-best in the conference, and he also grabs 6.4 rpg. Hooten (11.9 ppg), Trey Finn (9.9 ppg) and Brandon Peterson (9.5 ppg) all help shoulder the scoring load for the Red Wolves, with Peterson also ranking second in the conference in rebounding (7.7 rpg). ASU ranks in the bottom third of the league in three-pointers made, but sits second in three-point field goal percentage (.363).
Unlike its counterpart today, North Texas has one of the most prolific offenses in the Sun Belt, scoring 70.6 ppg, but the team struggled against Louisiana the last time out, connecting on just 37.9 percent of its field goal attempts and a mere 18.8 percent of its three-pointers. Roger Franklin tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds to pace Mean Green. Though he averages just 9.1 ppg and 5.5 rpg, Franklin has been a beast of late, turning in 17.2 ppg and 10.2 rpg over the last four outings. Freshman Tony Mitchell has been one of the conference's best players since joining the team on December 18, averaging 15.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg and he has shot 63.1 percent from the floor and 57.1 from three-point range. Mitchell is making history in his first season, becoming the first freshman to record two games of 30 points and 15 rebounds since Kansas State's Michael Beasley accomplished the feat in the 2007-08 season. Chris Jones has been a solid scorer in his own right, adding 14.1 ppg to go along with 2.4 steals per game. Jordan Williams (10.9 ppg) and Roger Franklin (9.1 ppg) help round out UNT's dynamic scoring attack.
These two teams are trending in opposite directions at the moment, and North Texas has been a force at home. Chalk this one up as an easy win for the Mean Green.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Texas 77, Arkansas State 63
01/28 10:42:44 ET