Two of North Texas’ biggest wins in back-to-back championship seasons came against traditional Conference USA power Western Kentucky.
The Mean Green knocked off the Hilltoppers in the final of the C-USA men’s basketball tournament last season and clinched the league’s regular season title in the 2019-20 campaign with a win at the Super Pit.
UNT will look to keep that run going early next year when the Mean Green face the Hilltoppers in a Jan. 15 game at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The game was the highlight of UNT’s 2021-22 conference schedule that was released Monday.
UNT will play an 18-game C-USA slate this season, when the league returns to the familiar Thursday-Saturday format it has used in previous seasons. C-USA moved to a Friday-Saturday schedule in conference play last season to reduce travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teams played the same opponent at the same site on consecutive days.
UNT will now resume several of the familiar two-game series over the course of a week it has played in previous years. The Mean Green will travel to Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech in late January and host the same two teams in late February.
UNT will play each team from C-USA’s West Division twice and each team from the East once with the exception of Florida International. The Mean Green will not face the Panthers this year.
C-USA’s West Division includes Rice, UTEP, UTSA, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and UAB as well as UNT. The Mean Green will open conference play with a three-game homestand, beginning with a game against Rice on New Year’s Day.
The Mean Green will then face UAB and Middle Tennessee on Jan. 6 and Jan. 8, respectively.
The conference tournament will take place from March 9-12 at The Star in Frisco.
UNT rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes to force overtime and went on to beat WKU 61-57 in the championship game of the C-USA tournament last season.
The Mean Green clinched the league’s regular season title in the 2019-20 campaign when they held the Hilltoppers scoreless over the final 4:31 of regulation of a game at the Super Pit. UNT rallied from a five-point deficit in that span to force overtime and went on to win 78-72.
UNT will enter the 2021-22 season looking for its third C-USA title in three seasons under Grant McCasland. The Mean Green followed up their latest C-USA title by knocking off Purdue in the NCAA tournament, their first win ever in the event.
The Mean Green’s path to another championship was laid out on Monday, when UNT released its conference schedule.