North Texas coach Tony Benford spoke this year about how important it is to him to have a schedule that will give the Mean Green an opportunity to play a host of home games.
The Mean Green will have that chance after Benford and his staff completed their 2013-14 schedule, which was released in its entirety Wednesday.
UNT announced a portion of the schedule, including its slate of league games for its first season in Conference USA, earlier this year.
The Mean Green will open the season Nov. 8 against Northwood, play in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic early in the season and make nonconference trips to BYU and Texas A&M. UNT filled out the rest of its nonconference schedule by loading up on games against regional rivals, including Stephen F. Austin, Wayland Baptist and Nicholls State.
“We are really excited about the upcoming season,” Benford said. “I feel like the nonconference schedule we have prepared will have us ready for a demanding Conference USA season. Playing in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic will pit us against four tough teams starting with Oklahoma, and we will also make trips to BYU and Texas A&M. Looking around our league, our schedule is comparable to most of the teams in C-USA, and we feel it’s a schedule that our fans will really enjoy.”
Unlike last season, when UNT played a marquee nonconference home game against Lehigh and also hosted traditional rival Texas-Arlington, most of the Mean Green’s high-profile home games will be in conference play.
UNT will host UTEP, Tulsa and Southern Mississsippi in the C-USA season and face 10 teams that advanced to the postseason last year.
UNT finished 12-20 in its first campaign under Benford and will look to rebound from its first losing season since the 2003-04 campaign this fall, when the Mean Green will have to replace two of its top three scorers. UNT returns shooting guard Jordan Williams, who led the Mean Green with an average of 14.2 points per game, but will have to replace forwards Tony Mitchell (13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds) and Roger Franklin (11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds).
Mitchell declared for the NBA draft after the season and was selected in the second round by Detroit. Franklin was a senior.
UNT will turn to a host of newcomers to fill the void, including transfers Kelvin Gaines, a forward from Cincinnati, and Vertrail Vaughns, a guard from George Mason, and highly regarded high school signee Greg Wesley, a forward from Arlington Seguin.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.
UNT MEN’S SCHEDULE
Stephen F. Austin
at Texas A&M
at Louisiana Tech*
at Florida International*
at Florida Atlantic*
C-USA tournament, El Paso
^ Exhibition game
# Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
* Conference USA game