Starkville, MS – The North Texas Mean Green looks to add to ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs.
After opening its season with a win over St.Gregory's, North Texas is 1-2 after consecutive losses to Texas Tech and Texas-Arlington. The loss to the Red Raiders was hard fought as the Mean Green only lost by five, but the Mavericks trounced them 97-64 in their last outing. North Texas has a lot to improve on if it is to stand a chance against the Bulldogs. The Mean Green are shooting 40.1 percent from the floor and 29.8 percent from the three point line to average 69.7 points per game. North Texas's opponents have shot 45.1 percent from the field to average 72.7 points per game.
MSU pushed its way into the top-25 by winning the 2K Sports Classic with impressive wins over Texas A&M and Arizona. Coach Rick Arnett's team has taken care of business otherwise except for its loss to Akron in its second game of the season. The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents this year by averaging 72 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting from the field. MSU is holding its opponents to 61.3 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting from the floor.When holding opponents to 65 points or less, MSU is now 5-0 on the year. The Bulldogs are also 4-0 when holding foes to less than 45 percent shooting from the floor, and they are 5-0 when committing fewer turnovers.
North Texas and MSU have met 131 times before this matchup. The Bulldogs lead the series 66-65, however the programs have not met since 1972.
Despite the slow start this year, North Texas has to be excited about their future. Freshman guard Chris Jones has been phenomenal in his first action at the collegiate level. After a modest performance against St.Gregory's, Jones put on an offensive display against Texas Tech with 31 points as he almost led his team to the upset. Jones is leading the team with 18.3 points per game, but has shown signs of inexperience thus far as he is averaging 5.3 turnovers per game. Jordan Williams, also a freshman, accompanies Jones in the backcourt and has been impressive as well. Williams scored a career-high 17 points while shooting 4-of-6 from three in his last outing. The rookie combo is going to get better and better as the season progresses.
MSU is led by Dee Bost's 16.9 points per game. The senior guard has posted 21 and 17 points in his last two outings. Arnett Moultre is leading the SEC in rebounding with 11.2 rebounds per game, but has missed the last two games with tendinitis. Moultre's return is questionable, but if he is active he is sure to make a big difference. Freshman swingman Rodney Hood has picked up the slack with Moultre out. Hood is averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in his last two outings.