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Home sweet home: How both basketball teams use the Super Pit to their advantage

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Playing on their home court is something both Mean Green basketball programs have utilized in recent years, including a winning record at home in 15 of the last 16 seasons for the North Texas men’s team. The Super Pit continues to be a place where the North Texas basketball players feel locked in and fall into their routines to continue a winning tradition.

North Texas’ men’s basketball has finished its last 11 of 15 seasons with a winning record and currently holds a 183-85 record at the Super Pit dating back to the 2003-04 season. On the other hand, women’s basketball in a stretch of their previous two winning seasons represents a 23-14 record at home since the 2017-18 season.

“We try to play our best to coming out to playing hard no matter who or where it is,” women’s basketball senior center Anisha George said. “At the same time though, our away games can be difficult because you have to get used to playing in different atmospheres and make adjustments.”

Home basketball games have been crucial to the structure of a college basketball environment, which can draw loud fans and possibly disturb the schemes of an away team to execute their game plan. Head coach Grant McCasland believes it benefits not only their team to have a large fan base, but it helps the school as a whole.

“We have great fans and the home court atmosphere brought with the student section is amazing,” McCasland said. “The home games show energy all around that can clear our minds to play our best.”

In the past 37 games for women’s basketball, they’ve outscored their opponents on an average of 64.2-54.1 at the Super Pit. In the 2017-18 season, the defense held their competition to 50 points or less in six straight home games. To stay on top of their game, the players stick to what superstitions and routines work for them.

“We usually eat the same food for good luck before the games,” women’s basketball junior guard Callie Owens said. “They cater out to us some good chicken, veggies and mac & cheese before our warmups. From there we just start the pregame shooting drills and everyone feels confident afterward.”

North Texas men’s basketball had a two-year streak in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with a 26-10 record at home outscoring their opponents by an average of 72.1-65.2. The Mean Green won their final four home games in the 2017-2018 season and continued a 10-game home winning streak to start the following season combined for a 14-game home winning streak that lasted from March 2018 to Feb. 2019.

In a six-season span between the 2006-07 season and the 2011-12 season, the men’s basketball had a 79-17 record at home in years that included appearances in the 2006 and 2010 NCAA Tournament.

“Our coaching staff keeps us prepared every single game and the students make this a place fun to play in,” men’s basketball senior guard DJ Draper said. “North Texas has been a historic basketball program and has stayed consistent. I think our fan base is great and they should try to keep it up.”

Road games for the players require a set itinerary that might conflict with the routine and schedule they usually might have for practice and home games. The little things like sleeping in a new hotel or waking up early to travel for a team flight can be difficult to get accustomed to for some.

“Sometimes it’s just something as simple as sleeping in a different bed or having the time change that might throw you off when you play on the road,” Owens said. “When you play away games you have a couple of fans rooting for you, but for the most part your biggest supporters are the coaches and the people on your bench.”

The fans in a college basketball game can play a role in determining the outcome of a game, particularly the student section. The more support that the players get on their court, the more confidence it can give the home team to use to their advantage.

“We don’t expect absolutely everyone to show up to home games, but it feels good to know that we have the support from people who do attend,” George said.

UP NEXT: The men’s team will play four of their final six non-conference games at home, including Oklahoma, Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Texas Wesleyan. The women’s team will play three of their next four games at home, including matchups against Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe and Texas A&M Texarkana.

Featured Image: Head coach Grant McCasland holds up an eagle “claw” as the fans in the stadium sing the UNT alma mater following the Mean Green’s game against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 16, 2019. Image by Jordan Collard

Article Originally Published by Preston Rios on North Texas Daily

Source: North Texas Daily

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