Tony Benford didn’t hesitate to challenge himself — or a team that is expected to be one of the best in school history — when it came time to lay out North Texas’ 2012-13 schedule.
UNT picked up an invitation to the preseason NIT and tacked on a few high-profile nonconference games — including the late addition of Lehigh. The Mean Green will face the defending Patriot League champion at the Super Pit on Dec. 20.
UNT will face 10 teams that played in the postseason last year.
That should make for an exciting season for UNT, which returns Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and projected NBA lottery pick Tony Mitchell.
“Our philosophy is to play the best teams that college basketball has to offer,” Benford said. “When you’ve been as good as North Texas has been over the last few years, and you have a player like Tony Mitchell, it makes scheduling games a little tougher. Still, we are committed to bringing our fans top-quality opponents that will battle-test our players for the Sun Belt and the NCAA Tournament.”
UNT came up short of reaching the NCAA Tournament last year, despite a standout season from Mitchell. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game while leading the Mean Green to the Sun Belt tournament final.
UNT will face Creighton and St. Louis in nonconference play, setting up what will be an intriguing matchup between Mitchell and Creighton forward Doug McDermott, another potential NBA lottery pick.
UNT will open the season at Creighton on Nov. 9 before playing Alabama-Huntsville in its first preseason NIT game in Manhattan, Kan., on Nov. 12.
UNT’s first home game will be against Cameron on Nov. 16. The Mean Green will open its final season in the Sun Belt with a home game against Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 1.
UNT will face every team in the Sun Belt at home and on the road in its final season in the league before moving to Conference USA in 2013-14.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-687. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
UNT MEN’S SCHEDULE
East Central (exhibition)
vs. Kansas State or Lamar^
NIT Season Tip-Off%
at St. Louis
at Western Kentucky*
at Middle Tennessee*
at Arkansas-Little Rock*
at Florida International*
at Florida Atlantic*
at Arkansas State*
at South Alabama*
Sun Belt Conference tournament, at Hot Springs, Ark.
^-NIT Season Tip-Off, Manhattan, Kan.
%-NIT Season Tip-Off, New York
*-Sun Belt Conference game