BASKETBALL | NCAAB

North Texas Mean Green vs. Kansas Jayhawks Pick & Prediction NOV 25TH 2021

Complete Lakefront Arena New Orleans
797Mean Green North Texas
798Jayhawks Kansas
OP
131
-16
CU
130.5o -105
-14.5 -110
ML
ML: 700
ML: -1100
Partials
1 2
27 32 0 0
35 36 0 0
Score
59
71
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Kansas will head into a three-game stretch at the ESPN Events Invitational with a tweak to its rotation.

With the No. 4 Jayhawks (3-0) winning by 22.7 points on average, coach Bill Self has provided minutes to several newcomers and tried different combinations.

Those substitutions, however, may get trickier with the return of Jalen Wilson, who is coming off a suspension following a DUI arrest and will be available when Kansas opens Thursday against North Texas (2-1) in Kissimmee, Fla.

Wilson figures to "fit right in," Self said, while anticipating the sophomore should be a 30-minute contributor. Last season, Wilson averaged 28.3 minutes, started all but one of the 29 games he played and averaged 11.8 points and 7.9 rebounds.

"He'll definitely add rebounding and the thing I hope he adds as much as anything is speed," Self said. "He is the best we have at pushing it. Who do we want to get the ball to? Jalen in transition, far more so than our guards just because we play faster."

Injuries could factor into Self's options after Remy Martin (back) and Bobby Pettiford (hip) missed each of the Jayhawks' practices since they beat Stony Brook last Thursday. Martin, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, went scoreless in that game.

Backup Jalen Coleman-Lands, who has provided some instant punch off the bench after transferring from Iowa State, is playing with a broken bone in his toe.

Ochai Agbaji has been on fire, scoring 25 or more points in each of the first three games while extending his streak of starts to 80. He is one point shy of the 1,000 mark for his career.

Agbaji, who ranks among the nation's top scorers, said he has focused on consistency, while "not going out with a total in mind like points or anything like that, just being assertive and consistent."

His hot hand makes Agbaji an easy target for Dajuan Harris, who averages a team-high 5.3 assists.

"My job is to get him open shots and if I can do that, I feel like we'll be a pretty good team too," Harris said.

North Texas held an opponent below 40 points while stifling Texas-Arlington 64-36 last Thursday. The Mean Green jumped to a 26-3 margin and held UTA to just 12 points in the first half.

"We played 22 minutes of really good offense and great defense," said Abou Ousmane, who scored a career-high 11 points. "We got a little sloppy in the second half and we know we have to clean that up if we want to compete for another championship, but obviously (we're) really proud of our performance."

Fifth-year coach Grant McCasland has guided UNT to two Conference USA titles and its first NCAA Tournament victory last season. The Mean Green claimed the C-USA tournament title a year ago.

North Texas is led by Thomas Bell, who is coming off a season-high 19 points after outscoring Texas-Arlington by himself in the first half, and Tylor Perry, who averages a team-high 17.3 points.

--Field Level Media

North Texas Mean Green vs. Kansas Jayhawks Recap NOV 25TH 2021

Ochai Agbaji led Kansas in scoring for the fourth time in as many games, scoring 18 points as the Jayhawks toppled North Texas 71-59 Thursday in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational at Kissimmee, Fla.

The No. 4 Jayhawks (4-0) advance to the semifinals on Friday against Dayton, a 76-60 winner over Miami. The only other ranked team in the field is No. 10 Alabama playing on the other side of the bracket.

Remy Martin, the preseason pick as Big 12 Player of the Year, drained three 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the second half after making just two treys on the season.

Martin finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. His rapid-fire contribution, along with 16 points from Christian Braun, complemented Agbaji, who came into the tournament as the nation's leading scorer with a 26.3-point average.

Kansas coach Bill Self inserted 12 players while attempting to keep his deep team fresh for a three-game run. Jalen Wilson returned off a three-game suspension for a DUI arrest, coming off the bench to contribute seven points, six rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes.

The Jayhawks shot 58.3 percent in the second half to blunt any upset bid by North Texas (2-2), which claimed its first NCAA Tournament victory last season after winning the Conference USA tournament.

The Mean Green shot just 39 percent, though Tylor Perry led all scorers with 23 points. UNT shot 14.8 percent (4 of 27) from long distance and was outrebounded 37-30.

North Texas lost one of its top standouts, Thomas Bell, with 11:46 remaining when he fouled out with nine points and five rebounds.

Agbaji scored 10 first-half points to pace Kansas to a 35-27 halftime lead. The Jayhawks led by as many as 13 before the Mean Green narrowed the margin and scored on four of its last six possessions.

North Texas committed 10 fouls in the first half and made just 2 of 13 attempts from deep but managed to whittle the lead to single digits behind 10 points from Perry.

--Field Level Media

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