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UNT to face high-profile nonconference opponents in McCasland's debut campaign

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

North Texas will face a host of nationally prominent programs in coach Grant McCasland's debut season with the Mean Green.

UNT will take on Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and Georgetown. Each of those games will be played on the road, and they highlight the nonconference portion of the UNT men's schedule that was released Tuesday.

The Mean Green will open the season Nov. 10 with a game against Eureka College at the Super Pit.

"We are excited about our nonconference schedule and the challenges it presents our team," McCasland said in a statement. "This schedule will prepare us for Conference USA play. We can't wait for the season opener."

McCasland came to UNT after a highly successful one-year stint at Arkansas State. The Red Wolves finished 20-12 before UNT paid $500,000 to buy McCasland out of his contract and bring him to Denton.

UNT's hope is that McCasland can turn around a once-proud program that cratered under Tony Benford. The Mean Green's former coach was fired after guiding UNT to five straight seasons at .500 or under, including a disastrous  8-22 campaign last year.

UNT averaged more than 20 wins a season over the course of six years and played in the NCAA tournament in 2007 and 2010 under Johnny Jones. Benford took over after Jones left for LSU.

McCasland was successful as a head coach at Midland College and Midwestern State in addition to ASU. UNT is hoping for similar results under its new coach, who has laid out an aggressive nonconference slate for his first season.

Georgia Tech finished 21-16 and played in the NIT last season. Georgetown (14-16), Oklahoma (11-20) and Nebraska (12-19) all finished well under .500 but are members of high-profile conferences.

UNT also will face longtime rival Texas-Arlington. The Mavericks finished 27-9 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT. 

McCasland has revamped UNT's roster since taking over, adding eight players, including seven who will be eligible this year. Those newcomers will supplement a core of key returning players that includes guards A.J. Lawson and Ryan Woolridge.

Lawson averaged a team-high 11.4 points, while Woolridge added 9.6 per game in 21 contests after becoming eligible at the Christmas break.

UNT men's nonconference basketball schedule

The following is the North Texas men's basketball team's nonconference schedule:

Date Opponent
Nov. 10 Eureka College
Nov. 13 at Nebraska
Nov. 16 Bethune-Cookman
Nov. 20 Texas Rio Grande Valley
Nov. 22 Rogers State
Nov. 24 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 27 Grambling State
Nov. 30 at Oklahoma
Dec. 2 at Texas-Arlington
Dec. 6 Indiana State
Dec. 9 McNeese State
Dec. 16 at San Diego
Dec. 20 at Georgetown