Charlotte at North Texas
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Super Pit, Denton
Radio: KHYI-FM 95.3
Last outing: UNT 71, UAB 64; Charlotte 91, UTSA 84
Records: UNT 16-9, 10-2 Conference USA; Charlotte 14-9, 8-4 Conference USA
Projected UNT starting lineup:
PG: Javion Hamlet, 6-4, Jr. — Hamlet scored 13 points and hit all five of his free throws in UNT's win over UAB. The junior also hit a key jumper in the final three minutes to extend a one-point UNT lead and help the Mean Green pull away. He is averaging 13.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
G: Umoja Gibson, 6-1, So. — Gibson tallied 13 points and grabbed three rebounds in UNT's win over UAB. He has struggled a bit from 3-point range in UNT's last two games, hitting just three of his 15 attempts. He is averaging 14.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
G: James Reese, 6-4, Jr. — Reese hit three shots from 3-point range on his way to scoring 11 points in UNT's win over UAB. Reese went 4-of-6 from the field and has scored in double figures in five of UNT's last six games. He is averaging 8.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
F: Zachary Simmons, 6-10, Jr. — Simmons scored eight points and handed out four assists in UNT's win over UAB. Simmons hit all but one of his five shots from the field. He is averaging 8.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
F: Deng Geu, 6-8, Sr. — Geu pulled down seven rebounds and scored three points in UNT's win over UAB. The senior is averaging 7.8 points and 5.6 points per game.
The 49ers have won their last two games and are in the thick of the race for the C-USA title at 8-4. Charlotte is two games back of UNT and will look at the teams' meeting on Thursday as a golden opportunity to pull within a game of the Mean Green. Junior guard Jordan Shepherd leads Charlotte with an average of 14.3 points per game and is coming off a 26-point outing in the 49ers' win over UTSA.
What you need to know:
UNT is about to enter one of the toughest sections of its schedule. The Mean Green will host a talented Charlotte team on Thursday and Old Dominion on Saturday before heading into C-USA bonus play.
Old Dominion has struggled a bit this year but is always dangerous.
UNT's path won't be any easier in bonus play. The Mean Green will land in the top pod and will play the other top four teams in the C-USA standings.
UNT has shown that it has the ability to compete with the top teams in the league. The Mean Green have already beaten Louisiana Tech and Florida International, which are in a three-way tie for third place with Charlotte.
UNT's success is due in part to its ability to shoot the ball from 3-point range. The Mean Green are within striking distance of the program's record for 3-point shooting percentage for a season, which is the topic of our preview that will appear in tomorrow's paper.