GAME CAPSULE: #22 FAU vs North Texas - January 28th, 2024
What: #22 FAU (16-4, 6-1 AAC) vs North Texas (12-6, 5-1 AAC)
When: Sun. Jan. 28th, @ 1:00 PM EST
Where: The Burrow - Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena
Series: North Texas leads 14-8 all-time against FAU.
Radio: FoxSports 640
Live Stats: Here
Line: FAU -10.5
FAU at a Glance
Offense - 83 PPG, 49% FG, 37% 3PT
Defense - 72 PPGA, 43% FGA, 34% 3PTA
Rebounding - 38 RPG Owls, 34 RPG Opponents
FAU got themselves back on the right track in terms of defense, limiting Rice to just 56 points on 34.9% shooting from the field en route to winning on the road.
Being at their best defensively will be needed even while hosting one of the lower-ranked offenses in the country in North Texas, who will look to do the same against FAU's potent style of play.
"We are excited to be back in Boca and play in front of our fans. Those two wins on the road were big for us. Now it's time to continue the momentum at home against a really good opponent. We are ready to play in front of our fans again so everyone can see how great the atmosphere is in the arena," said guard Johnell Davis.
"North Texas is another great matchup. This conference is filled with a bunch of great teams that will play great basketball."
Big games from Davis and Alijah Martin should be on the radar. The former has a 13-game streak of scoring in double-digits, while the latter has averaged 20.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 steals in his last three contests.
Keep an eye on Bryan Greenlee (pictured via FAU Athletics) to have significant contributions against the Mean Green. He had a balanced statline at Rice, finishing with seven points, six assists, and five rebounds as his activity in multiple aspects of the game could play a key role in how the Owls fare on both ends.
Using the transition while taking advantage of the fastbreak would be important for the Owls to maximize against a defense like North Texas. FAU recorded 18 fast break points and did not give up a single fast break score on the other end of the floor against Rice, showing they must keep playing uptempo to push their opponents' backs to the wall.
Another great display at the charity stripe would be advantageous as well. FAU went 15-17 for a season best 88% from the line against, putting themselves on the right track in terms of scoring easy points whenever they have the chance.
FAU remains at home as they will rest for a couple of days before hosting Tulsa on February 3rd at 6:00 PM EST. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN+.
North Texas Team Site: Here
North Texas at a Glance
Offense - 68 PPG, 43% FG, 36% 3PT
Defense - 59 PPGA, 39% FGA, 30% 3PTA
Rebounding - 37 RPG, 32 RPG Opponents
Mean Green Notables
North Texas has done a great job transitioning from Conference USA to The American, maintaining their identity on the defensive side of the ball.
They ranks fourth in the country in scoring defense at 58.7 points per game allowed, also making them the best defense in the conference. They are also 10th in field goal percentage defense (38.6 percent) and 32nd in defending the 3-ball (29.9%), picking up where they left off after winning the 2023 National Invitational Tournament.
"Their experience collectively is very difficult to combat. The only way to do it is to garner that level of experience yourself. They have everyone back and are so connected and together. It jumps out at you," said UNT head coach Ross Hodge about their upcoming matchup with FAU.
"They are a rare team that has great individual talent that still manages to be better than the sum of its collective parts."
It also helps the Mean Green that they are at full strength now, having key players in John Buggs III and Rubin Jones make their returns against SMU this past Thursday after missing multiple games to injury. Buggs III is one of the best perimeter shooters on the team, making his three-pointers at a 42.9% clip, while Jones is the assist leader with 53 so far this season.
The main defensive assignment FAU must keep tabs on is Jason Edwards. He is North Texas' undisputed scoring leader with 17 points per game, showing a relentless drive to draw fouls and get to the charity stripe as he converts 84.7% of his 85 free throws. He is prone to turning the ball over, having a team-most 42 as FAU must figure out how to keep him from getting in rhythm on Sunday.
Another player the Owls need to be careful about is sixth man Robert Allen. He had his 13th double-double of his career against SMU, finishing with a season-high 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, six of them being on the offensive glass. Giving Allen a difficult day boxing out for rebounds should be one of FAU's objectives whenever he's on the court.
Following this matchup, the Mean Green will travel back to Texas for a home encounter with UAB on January 31st at 9:00 PM EST. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.