Banowksy visited the Louisiana Tech campus to chat with outgoing president Dan Reneau, a long-time friend, and to meet other officials as Tech prepares for its official move to C-USA this summer.
“People that know me know that I am comfortable with large models of conferences,” Banowsky said. “There are efficiencies that grow from a two-division model of eight in each division that’s beneficial.
“I also know that we want to manage the growth in a way that we continue to create stability as opposed to volatility. I’m not sure yet whether we will move to a platform of 16 members, but I know I’ve been asked to model 16, so that’s what I plan on doing.”
Louisiana Tech is in a large group of schools joining C-USA, including fellow Western Athletic Conference member Texas-San Antonio, Sun Belt Conference schools Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and North Texas, Atlantic 10 member North Carolina-Charlotte and Colonial Athletic Association member Old Dominion.
Western Kentucky will join in 2014 and ODU and UNCC will play C-USA football in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Banowsky didn’t mention specific schools in which C-USA might pursue to get to 16, but Sun Belt members Arkansas State and ULL could be attractive. ULL athletics director Scott Farmer told The Daily Advertiser in April that the Ragin’ Cajuns would be interested in the move.
Conference USA’s membership grab is in response to four schools leaving for the American Athletic Conference this year (Memphis, Houston, Central Florida and Southern Methodist) and three next year (Tulane, Tulsa and East Carolina).
Banowsky said he believes C-USA still has a national brand, and that by adding the San Antonio market and keeping the Dallas market, the conference is moving in a positive direction.He added that the C-USA trend has been to add large universities in populated markets, but Tech was the exception.
“I think going forward we will have teams that win championships and hopefully national championships.”
Banowsky said he believes the collegiate landscape is settling down.
“I think things are moving into a little bit more of a stable window,” Banowsky said. “There was a lot of frenetic energy over the last 18 months to two years. Sometimes (the moves) made sense it seemed, and sometimes people scratched their heads ... Hopefully (change) will happen over a long-time horizon (now) and be less volatile.”
The division breakdown for the 2013 football season includes Tech, UTSA, UTEP, North Texas, Rice, Tulsa and Tulane in the West Division. In the East, Southern Miss, UAB, FIU, FAU, Middle Tennessee, Marshall and East Carolina.
With additions coming in the East, Banowsky said there’s a “strong possibility” that Southern Miss would migrate to the West Division.
When North Texas was under the leadership of Darrell Dickey, now the OC of Memphis, one of his offensive coaches was Ramon Flanigan. While Flanigan was a offensive coach for eight seasons, he commanded the Offensive Coordinator position for five seasons.
Under Flanigan’s watch, North Texas had one of the best winning percentages in North Texas history. They won four consecutive Sun Belt Conference Championships going to four consecutive New Orleans Bowls. North Texas lost the first two games falling to Conference-USA members Southern Miss 10-31 and Memphis 17-27. They upended then Conference-USA member, now present Big East member Cincinnati 24-19 then falling to Mountain West member Colorado State 20-45.
Under his guidance, RB Kevin Galbreath won the MVP trophy in the bowl win against Cincinnati.
Flanigan is now in his first season as a head football coach being selected to take over NCAA Division II Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He has a big challenge ahead of him after taking over a program that just finished a 1-9 season.
Final Score: Louisiana 74, North Texas 55
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Elfrid Payton tallied 20 points, seven assists and seven rebounds as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns made easy work of the North Texas Mean Green, 74-55, in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Convention Center Court.
Payton also added two blocks and two steals for Louisiana (13-19), which will take on No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Bryant Mbamalu and Alan-Michael Thompson netted 16 points apiece for the eighth- seeded Cajuns, while Shawn Long notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
For ninth-seeded North Texas (12-20), Jordan Williams scored 19 points, Roger Franklin had 13 points and Tony Mitchell registered 10 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Although Louisiana was outshot from the field in the first half by North Texas, 47.8 percent to 36.8 percent, it still took a 33-29 lead into intermission by attempting 15 more field goals in the opening 20 minutes.
The Cajuns cruised in the second half by improving their field goal efficiency to 50 percent.
In the final home game, the final game of the season and the final regular season game as members of the Sun Belt Conference together, North Texas (11-19) welcomed Arkansas State(18-9) to The Super Pit.
North Texas wanted to end the regular season on a good note after having a disappointing year. A win would help them go into the SBC Tournament on a high note.
When the dust cleared it was North Texas taking the lead at the 17:42 mark and went on a roll and never looking back.
The game opened up with ASU getting the first two points of the game before Jordan Williams tied the game with an inside layup then gave North Texas the lead on a three point jumper. Niko Stojilkkovic pushed North Texas further ahead by getting a three from downtown. When North Texas Head Basketball Coach Tony Benford called a time out with 15:53 mark in the first half his team was up 8-2.
Roger Franklin got into the act by hitting a two point shot which was answered by ASU. Chris Jones hit for two before ASU put a lay-up in. Tony Mitchell got his first points of the game hitting a jump shot but ASU answered by hitting two free throws. At the 11:54 media timeout North Texas was up 15-8.
After the timeout, J. Williams hit for two and ASU responded by hitting a jump shot then hit another for two. Franklin added two to the North Texas lead by sinking two free throws. ASU added four points with a basket and two free throws. Mitchell responded by sinking a three point shot. ASU hit one more basket before Benford called timeout with 7:16 left in the first half up 25-18.
J. Williams pushed North Texas further out front by laying one up in the paint. ASU got two points on two free throws then narrowed the game by hitting two more free throws. Alzee Williams stopped the ASU run by getting a lay-up and then later was fouled. He hit both free throws followed by Franklin putting one in from under the rim. The last shot of the half was scored by AKU when then hit a free throw to make the halftime score North Texas 34, ASU 23.
J. Williams opened the second half by hitting a three. ASU hit for two before Franklin put in a jumper, then put in another basket followed by J. Williams getting a dunk. ASU called a timeout with 17:36 left in the game trailing 26-43.
ASU scored three points on a free throw and a basket. A. Williams put in two free throws before ASU got two on a fast break. A. Williams hit a lay-up but ASU for points on two baskets forcing Benford to call a timeout with 12:26 left in the game ahead 49-38.
The two teams started to trade baskets and it started with Franklin getting his shot to go in, ASU got two on another fastbreak. A. Williams got a lay-up to go followed by ASU getting one free throw to fall. A. Williams hit for two then Mitchell chipped in two from under the basket. ASU hit a jump shot but North Texas started to find the mark when they hit three in a row when A. Williams got a lay-up, Jones went inside the paint for two and then got another lay-up to fall inside the paint which resulted in ASU calling a timeout with 6:52 left in the game down by twenty, 43-63.
ASU tried to make a comeback by hitting a three and a two before Stojiljkovic was fouled and put in both free throws. A. Williams was fouled and put in two free throws before the 3:57 media timeout and North Texas up 68-48.
Jones hit a lay-up which was answered by ASU. Franklin hit a jump shot before ASU put in a their last shot for the final score North Texas 74-50.
Injured North Texas Guard Chris Jones who had been out for several months with a broken foot traveled with the team to Mobile, Ala to take on Sun Belt Conference member the South Alabama Jaguars for the final regular season road game. Three of the top offensive rebounders in the SB C are on South Alabama. One of the keys to a North Texas win was to limit USA’s second chance points. Another was limiting the three point shots.
USA started the game with the first two points of the game and led all the way however, it wasn’t from downtown USA got it’s points it was the old fashioned way, they earned it. North Texas defense held USA to 4 of 17 from three point range. North Texas didn’t do much better as they hit 1 of 11 from long range. The USA bench outscored the North Texas bench 20-12. North Texas didn’t stop the Jags rebounding as they cleaned the glass 48 times to North Texas’ thirty-nine. One good thing the defense did was to stop USA’s Augustine Rubit to under ten points preventing him from getting his 15th double, double game. Tony Mitchell however, secured his eight double, double game.
The big different in this game was USA interfering with J. Williams scoring. J. Williams has had a hot hand scoring the last several games. While he did get nine points, the USA defense corrupted his shooting style to the point where he hit only 3 of his 18 field goal attempts and 0 of six from beyond the arc.
As for USA, “they took care of home” Benford stated. It was hard for his team to get into the game because we “got behind and couldn’t get into a groove.” The result was North Texas couldn’t overcome the Jags lead.
Benford, in talking about Chris Jones playing his first game in months, he stated “he was a little out of shape and it showed.” However, Benford pointed out “Jones plays with poise” when on the floor. The team was credited with eight assists and Jones “had six of the eight assists.”
North Texas got the tip-off but USA got the big first block of the game and the first score on a big dunk and extended their with another basket. Alzee Williams on his first score of the game was fouled and put in the free throw. USA hit a three to make the score USA 7, North Texas 3 at the 15:36 media timeout.
Tony Mitchell got an inside lay-up followed by J. Williams getting two but USA got two buckets in a row. Keith Coleman then got an inside dunk followed by Jones sinking one for two making the score 12-11. North Texas was trailing by the one at the 11:47 media timeout and USA at the line.
USA put in both free throws and followed those points up by hitting three baskets in a row before Mitchell got a dunk to end the USA 8-0 run. USA got their next two points off a goal-tending call on Mitchell. A. Williams hit for a long two but USA responded with a two off their own. Coleman hit a turnaround jumper but USA answered with a two. Mitchell was fouled on an offensive rebound putting him at the line with North Texas behind 17-26 at the 7:15 media timeout.
Mitchell missed both free throws. Both teams turned the ball over several times before USA powered in an offensive rebound forcing Benford to call timeout with 4:18 left in the first half trailing 17-28.
Both teams continued to miss shots after the timeout. The first points came when Roger Franklin got his first two points of the game. Jones was fouled at the 2:30 media timeout as was at the line with North Texas trailing 28-19.
Jones missed both free throws. USA hit for two points followed by Niko Stojiljkovic hitting one of two free throws, P.J. Hardwick going inside for two and Franklin get a lay-up making the halftime score USA 30, North Texas 24.
While North Texas ended the first on a run it was USA opening the second half with outscoring North Texas to build their back up. It started with them hitting two baskets in a row before Franklin got a lay-up. USA answered with a basket but J. Williams answered by hitting two free throws. After USA hit another basket Benford call a timeout with 17:13 left in the game down 28-39.
After the timeout, USA scored first on two free throws then moved further out front with another free throw. Mitchell finally stopped the USA run by getting a lay-up. After being fouled, Mitchell hit both free throws and USA called a timeout with 14:01 left in the game up 42-33.
After the timeout, USA was fouled and hit two free throws before Mitchell hit a three point jumper. USA was fouled and put in both free throws. At the 11:53 media timeout North Texas was still behind 36-46.
J. Williams got the score but it was followed by North Texas fouling USA. They sank both shots from the free throw line. Jones was fouled hard going to the basket and missed the first free throw but got the second to fall. USA got a crowd pleasing dunk and followed it up with a crowd leasing block of a Franklin shot. The crowd noise even got louder when they got their next two points were a result of another goal-tending call on Mitchell. At the 7:53 media timeout North Texas was even further behind 39-52.
J. Williams hit for two but USA answered by hitting a basket and one from behind the are forcing Benford to call a timeout with 7:17 left in the game and down 41-57.
A. Williams on an offensive stick back got North Texas two points. USA was then fouled. They hit the first free throw but the second was waived off because of a lane violation. USA added to their score with a three. Franklin fought for an offensive rebound to get the put-back. USA hit for a quick two followed by A. Williams going down the court for a basket which prompted Benford to call a timeout with 5:31 left in the game and North Texas still behind 47-63.
Hardwick went to the basket drawing the foul and he missed the front end of a one on one. USA was fouled but they put in both free throws then followed that with another basket. A. Williams was fouled on his basket and with 3:34 left in the game USA had increased their lead to 67-49 and Williams at the line.
After A. Williams hit his free throws, both teams couldn’t get their shots to fall. North Texas finally got their next points from the foul line when A. Williams hit one of his two free throws. USA hit a basket which was answered by Stojiljkovic getting two. He was fouled missed the free throws but A. Williams hit for two inside followed by Stojiljkovic hitting another two points for the final score of the game. The Jaguars tear North Texas apart 69-57.
With an exciting overtime win against Florida Atlantic at home, North Texas (11-18, 6-12) now travels to Mobile, Ala to take on Sun Belt Conference member the South Alabama Jaugars (15-10, 12-5). North Texas can expect a hostile crowd and a determined team as this will be senior night for USA.
The two teams tangled earlier this year in Denton with North Texas taking a 66-56 win. Early in the game it looked like it would be a laugher when North Texas went up 26-7. At the halfway point of the second half North Texas held a 21 point lead but USA went on a 21-6 run as a result of cold shooting by North Texas. In the last 7:47 minutes of the game North Texas hit only one field goal. The game was won by North Texas from the charity stripe.
It is shaping up to be the Augustine Rubit versus Tony Mitchell contest although USA Head Basketball Coach Jeff Price disagrees, “they’re two really good players—probably the two best players in the conference. Aug knows this isn’t about him vs. Tony Mitchell, which is somewhat how it has played out, but this is about our team against their team.”
This is a team Mitchell like to face. In the last two contests against USA he has scored 24 points per game and 13.5 rebounds.
USA will be coming into the game on a one game losing streak after stringing together four wins. North Texas enters the game with two wins in a row and having won three of their last four.
North Texas and Florida Atlantic give fans their money’s worth when the two teams play and it happened once again at The Super Pit. Neither team could win one in regulation so it was another overtime affair.
Roger that! It was Roger Franklin doing the little things that normally gets overlooked by the play of other players. FAU loves the three point shooting but it was Franklin using the long ball to stick the danger into the Owls’ heart in the overtime period. It just wasn’t the three ball that was important but hitting the shots when it seemed FAU was going on a run. He tipped the balls in the passing lanes at the right moment, grabbed rebounds at critical points in the game. As a result North Texas takes a 66-57 win making their record (11-18, 6-12).
The game was won in overtime neither team could find their shooting range. Neither team could get into their shooting range until a little over two minutes left in the game, with the clock winding down Franklin got the first points of overtime by either team when he put in his three point shot. It seemed to lift the crowd and the teams spirit as if they knew they were going to win the game. The basket started a 9-0 North Texas run and the defense kept FAU scoreless giving North Texas the win.
Benford “though it was a great defensive effort” by his team. They contested the FAU shots from long range as a result “the best three point shooting team in the conference” went 4 of 18 from downtown. This pleased Benford because he noted “we are the worst three point shoot contester in the league.” He thinks they reason they are the worst is because of injuries.
North Texas was “trying to get Tony the ball” in the game and overtime but FAU would have none of it It was the three point shot from Franklin in overtime that “gave the team a lot of momentum.”
“Our guys are getting better” and said the staff is working hard to get the players better and he feels it is happening. While some people feel the team has given up, Benford stated that is not true, the players and staff are working hard and want to win. “No one has given up.”
“Our goal is to win the conference tournament” and with Chris Jones coming back shortly, North Texas will have even a better shot at winning the conference tournament title. After all, Western Kentucky did it last year.
North Texas opened up the game scoring first when P.J. Hardwick hit his jump shot. Keith Coleman, who started the game because Mitchell was a little crossways with the coach, got a layup to give North Texas a four point lead. Alzee Williams got a steal and was fouled but hit one of two baskets to give North Texas a 5-0 lead before FAU was able to get their first score of the game. Franklin answered with a two following by FAU getting two. So at the 14:58 mark in the first half, North Texas Head Basketball Coach Tony Benford called a timeout with his team up 7-4.
A. Williams was fouled and hit two free throws which was followed by J. Williams’ slam dunk. FAU scored twice before A. Williams went to the basket for a score and drew the foul. After hitting the free throw, FAU went long distance for a three. Mitchell on an offensive rebound was fouled and hit both free throws so at the 11:42 media timeout North Texas held a 16-11 lead.
Mitchell got block 146 but North Texas could not take advantage of the block. FAU got two points on two free throws. A. Williams hit a basket, FAU hit a three but Franklin went inside to counter with a two. FAU scored twice before Mitchell got two for North Texas. FAU hit two to tie the game. Franklin came back for two and with 7:06 left in the half, a timeout was called with North Texas holding a 24-22 advantage.
North Texas defense, after the timeout, forced FAU into a shot clock violation. J. Williams was fouled and got North Texas two points sinking in two free throws. FAU got a basket and then tied the game with another forcing Benford to call a timeout with the score 26 all and 3:34 left in the first half.
Franklin got a basket and was fouled with 3:08 left in the half. A timeout called with North Texas up 28-26 and Franklin at the line.
After the timeout, Franklin’s free throw gave North Texas a three point lead. FAU tied the game on a three basket. J. Williams went to the basket to score and he drew the foul. After hitting the free throw North Texas was up by one. FAU got two points on a goal-tending call on Mitchell. North Texas retook the lead on a slam dunk by Mitchell but FAU’s two point basket put them up by one. With 52 seconds left a timeout was called by FAU and North Texas trailing 32-33.
The first half ended when FAU hit for two for a three point lead but J. Williams tied the game on a three shot at the buzzer making the halftime score 35-35.
The second half opened with FAU taking the lead after getting fouled and sinking both free throws. FAU extended their lead with a three point shot, a goaltending call on Mitchell as well as a foul. Benford called a time with 17:29 left in the half down 35-43 and FAU on an 8-0 run.
Neither team could score even though North Texas kept shooting the ball, getting offensive rebounds and put-backs but the ball would not go in. North Texas finally scored when Hardwick hit for two at the 15:32 timeout, FAU held a 43-37 lead.
After the timeout, North Texas did the same thing they did before the last timeout. After several offensive rebounds and missed shots, North Texas final got some points when J. Williams was fouled inside and sinking both free throws. Mitchell’s defensive rebound resulted in a stuff at the other end of the court by Franklin. Mitchell got an offensive rebound, was fouled and tied the game after hitting both free throws. Both teams couldn’t buy a basket before Franklin got an inside layup to give North Texas a two point lead after a 10-0 North Texas run. FAU called a timeout with 11:53 left in the game and North Texas up 45-43.
Neither team could score before the 11:27 media timeout.
FAU tied the game and then took the lead on a goal-tending call on Mitchell. Hardwick went inside to tie the game followed by Mitchell getting two for a North Texas 49-47 lead with 7:57 left in the game.
FAU once again tied the game but once again Hardwick went inside to get the lead back. J. Williams got a FAU turnover and went down the court and slammed dunk the ball down giving North Texas a four point lead. FAU called a timeout call with 5:54 left and North Texas holding a 53-49 lead.
FAU hit for two and with 4:29 left in the game Benford called a timeout up 53-51.
Franklin then scored extending the North Texas lead to four but FAU hit for two baskets to tie the game and with 2:56 left FAU called a timeout with the score 55 all.
Neither team could score before the 2:43 media timeout.
North Texas had several chances to score but couldn’t do and turned the ball over to FAU allowing them to score and take a two point lead. Benford called a timeout with 52 seconds left down 55-57.
J. Williams was fouled on the throw-in and hit both free throws to tie the game. Niko Stojiljkovic grabbed a defensive rebound which allowed Benford to call a timeout 13.5 seconds left in the game. North Texas played for the last shot to win the game but could not score. The regulation game ended with a 57-57 tie sending the game into overtime.
In overtime, both teams couldn’t hit a basket for the first two and a half minutes or so. Franklin had a chance to score from the charity stripe but he missed the first shot of the one on one. He redeemed himself when with 2:23 left in overtime he hit a three point shot. North Texas had another opportunity to go up by five but they turned the ball over allowing FAU to call a time out with two minutes left in the game and North Texas up 60-57.
After the timeout, FAU turned the ball over then fouled Mitchell sending him to the foul line. After hitting both free throws North Texas had a five point lead. Mitchell tipped a FAU pass to Stojiljkovic who got it to Franklin who was fouled and sank both free throws. Franklin then blocked a FAU shot. FAU was then fouled but missed both free throws and A. Williams got the rebound on the second missed shot and was fouled. He hit both free throws giving him ten for the game and it secured a 66-57 for North Texas win.