North Texas is letting it get away - Eric Francis
North Texas couldn't even make it close against a Lehigh team missing C.J. McCollum. So how do you even think about considering the Mean Green as the best team in the Sun Belt conference any longer?
Stick a fork in North Texas; the Mean Green are done.
That is pretty much all you can say after Thursday night's loss, just another in the long line of defeats that North Texas has strung together this year.
If the Alabama-Huntsville loss was the push that led to the Mean Green losing their balance, the Lehigh loss is the last ditch effort to save themselves that failed and sent them hurtling over the edge.
Without C.J. McCollum, the Mountain Hawks had no issues with taking out North Texas by 15, 90-75. It is hard to say what the worst part about that is. That the Mean Green lost to a team missing its best player, and top scorer, or that the Mean Green gave up 90 points to a team without its top offensive threat.
This was a team that was doing alright defensively. Against Lehigh, they sunk backward, and allowed Gabe Knutson to torch them for 28. Mackey McKnight -- the player that against Baylor could barely keep things together while McCollum was off the floor -- scored 25.
There is no rhyme or reason for this.
The offensive end was the same. Tony Mitchell did what Tony Mitchell does, albeit off the bench.
Let me understand something here. There are probably 50 NBA scouts in attendance for tonight's game, even with McCollum in a suit on the bench. The ONLY other guy that they are here to see is Mitchell.
And you don't even start the guy? What the heck is Tony Benford thinking? Even if Mitchell is the biggest PITA since Ron Artest, you don't have him sitting on the bench to begin the game. You have him taking the jump. You have him running the floor from the beginning. You have him shooting the damn ball.
OK, end sidebar.
Mitchell finished with 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting. It should have been better, but the sophomore has yet to learn how to shoot free throws, something that is just going to hold him back from being the player he could be in the NBA.
Without McCollum on the floor, he was the most talented player by far. He moved with more grace. He controlled his space better. He had no equal.
And yet North Texas couldn't take advantage of it, or took advantage so seldom it was worthless.
Consider that the rest of the team shot a combined 18-for-58 from the floor. That is 31.1 percent for those that are mathematically challenged among us. That is not good, especially when you consider that a good number of the missed shots were little bunnies that even a 5-year-old could make against the Lehigh defense.
This is officially the end for North Texas. Even if they should win the Sun Belt, you can't honestly believe that it will happen at this point. There is too much wrong with a team that shows up and doesn't compete.
I am pretty sure you can count out South Alabama after the loss of Ronnie Arrow at the helm.
So is it Middle Tennessee State or Western Kentucky that is going to take the lead here? I don't know, but Merry Christmas. This week has seen you get a major gift between the total destruction of one team and the beheading of another.
Both of these teams have their flaws, none as bad as North Texas' that were on display Thursday.
For a team that had so much promise entering this year, this was not the way you want to seem them play.
Yeah, stick a fork in them. They are done.