UNT-WKU CT

North Texas guard Mardrez McBride (1) drives past Middle Tennessee guard Camryn Weston during the Mean Green's win at the Super Pit last week. UNT will take on Western Kentucky on Saturday.

North Texas at Western Kentucky 

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: E.A. Diddle Arena, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Records: UNT 10-4, 3-1 Conference USA; WKU 10-6, 2-1

Last game: UNT 69, Marshall 65; WKU 80, Rice 66

Radio: Mean Green Sports Network

Projected UNT starting lineup:

PG: Rubin Jones, 6-5, So. — Jones scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in UNT's win over Marshall. The sophomore failed to hit a 3 for the first time in his last 10 games. He is averaging 8.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

G: JJ Murray, 6-1, Sr. — Murray enjoyed one of his better games of the season in UNT's win over Marshall. The senior scored 11 points and hit all three of his attempts from 3-point range. He also picked up two steals. He is averaging 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. 

G: Mardrez McBride, 6-2, Sr. — McBride continued his run of double-figure scoring performances while tallying 10 points in UNT's win over Marshall. The senior hit two 3s and has now hit at least two shots from deep in four straight games. He has also scored in double figures in four straight games and is averaging 9.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

F: Thomas Bell, 6-6, Sr. — Bell posted one of his best all-around performances of the season in UNT's win over Marshall. He posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. He also tallied five assists. The senior is averaging 11.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

F: Abou Ousmane, 6-10, So. — Ousmane is coming off the best game of his career in UNT's win over Marshall. The sophomore scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Both totals were career highs. Ousmane has been efficient on the offensive end all season and went 9-for-13 from the floor against Marshall. He is averaging 9.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Scouting WKU:

WKU has long been a power in C-USA and looks like it will have staying power in the league race again this season. The Hilltoppers have won two straight since dropping a game to Louisiana Tech 74-73.

WKU has a host of talented players across the board, including four who are averaging double figures in scoring. Maryland transfer forward Jairus Hamilton is averaging 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

Jamarion Sharp, WKU's 7-foot-5 center, leads the nation with an average of 4.6 blocked shots per game.

What you need to know:

UNT pulled out a thrilling win over Marshall in the first game of a challenging road trip that will conclude on Saturday when the Mean Green take on WKU in a 3 p.m. game.

UNT and WKU have been two of the top teams in C-USA over the last few years and have played games with championships on the line in the last two seasons.  The Mean Green knocked off the Hilltoppers in last season's C-USA tournament title game.

The rematch shapes up to be another key game in the conference race. Both teams have lost one game so far in C-USA play to teams that are expected to be in the title hunt to the end.

UNT fell to UAB, while WKU lost a one-point game to Louisiana Tech.

Diddle Arena is a tough place to play. The Mean Green have lost five straight on WKU's home floor, a streak that dates back to the 2009-10 season.

The Hilltoppers have a host of transfers from high level programs and will be a challenge to match up with for UNT. WKU starts players who arrived from Maryland, IUPUI and Davidson. The Hilltoppers also have one of the top junior college players in the nation from last season in Sharp.

It was a terrific sign for UNT to have Ousmane play well against Marshall on Thursday. He is one of the few players on UNT's roster with the size and bulk to match up with Sharp.

Here's a link to our preview story that dropped earlier today that focuses on the history between UNT and WKU.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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