North Texas coach Mike Petersen felt like there was no reason to panic a week ago after his team lost its third straight game.
The Mean Green had taken on three of the best teams in the Sun Belt Conference in succession and still was in the race for the league’s West Division title.
All UNT had to do was win a few key games late.
“Our division is going to get settled in the next 3 1/2 weeks,” Petersen said.
One of the biggest games for UNT during that stretch will come at 2:05 p.m. today, when the Mean Green takes on Arkansas State at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark.
ASU (12-9, 9-3 Sun Belt) is atop the division after winning its last seven games, including a 63-58 decision over Western Kentucky.
UNT (8-13, 7-5) has not been nearly as hot as ASU but has made it though the toughest part of its schedule and remains just two games behind the Red Wolves.
ASU still has to travel to Sun Belt power Middle Tennessee and WKU. The Red Wolves also have a home-and-home series left with rival Arkansas-Little Rock and UNT.
UNT plays four of its last seven games at home and has road games left against Louisiana-Monroe (3-8 SBC), Troy (0-11) and South Alabama (5-7).
UNT lost consecutive games to Florida Atlantic, MTSU and UALR but appears to have gotten back on track.
While UNT has a chance to make up ground late in the season, it can help its cause by beating ASU today. UNT will play host to the Red Wolves in the final game of the regular season.
UNT appeared to be ready to make a late-season run in its last outing, a 64-46 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Alexis Hyder posted one of her best games of the year against ULL, recording 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
The freshman forward is averaging 13.0 points per game to lead UNT and today will face Jane Morrill in a matchup of two of the Sun Belt’s best post players. Morrill is averaging 14.6 points a game for ASU.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is email@example.com.