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Surging North Texas Looks to Make it Five Straight vs. UTEP Sunday

North Texas is one of the hottest teams in college basketball as the Mean Green have won four straight, including two road upsets over Florida International (65-63) and Florida Atlantic (78-76). Tony Benford’s squad appears to be peaking at the right time and have an excellent opportunity to improve their standing heading into the Conference USA Tournament with final home games against UTEP and Tulsa.

North Texas Offense:

North Texas is averaging 70.8 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 71.2 points per game, thereby making the Mean Green 0.4 points per game worse than average offensively.  Surprisingly, the Mean Green are only averaging 69.8 points per game on 41.8% shooting within the friendly confines of the Super Pit so we can’t/won’t expect offensive fireworks from North Texas this afternoon.

Meanwhile, UTEP is allowing 63.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 71.1 points per game, thereby making the Miners 7.2 points per game better than average defensively. The Miners are limiting opponents to 64.1 points per game on 39.5% shooting from the field on the road, while also limiting conference foes to just 62.6 points per game on 39.8% shooting from the field.  Overall, UTEP possesses a 7.6 points per game advantage on the defensive end of the floor in this game.  However, there appears to be a crack in UTEP’s armor as the Miners have lost three of their last five games over which time they have yielded 67.6 points per game.

North Texas Defense:

North Texas is allowing 72.6 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.5 points per game so the Mean Green are simply mediocre defensively this season.  The better news for North Texas investors is the fact that the Mean Green are limiting opponents to a mere 69.2 points per game at home on 39.9% shooting from the field. And, those numbers are certainly good enough to contain a pedestrian UTEP attack that is averaging a woeful 65.3 points per game on the road. Overall, these teams are evenly matched when UTEP has possession, but I give the Mean Green a decided edge defensively based upon their numbers at home this season.

My math model only favors UTEP by three points and the Mean Green are 8-1 ATS of a conference road win and 24-11 ATS following a road game over the last three seasons.  “I’m really proud of these guys with the amount a resiliency they’ve shown,” said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. “Through the ups and downs they stayed together and executed.”  Take North Texas plus the generous points (+4.5 at some books as of 9:15 a.m. eastern time) and invest with confidence.

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