Texas Basketball vs. Northern Arizona: 3 bold predictions

Arterio Morris, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Arterio Morris, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jalen Cone
Jalen Cone /

Texas holds Jalen Cone to single-digit points

We mentioned Northern Arizona’s starting point guard Cone in the last part of the list. Cone is the spark plug for this team on offense. The former Virginia Tech Hokies senior transfer and reigning All-Big Sky guard leads the team in scoring at just over 12 points per game.

And while Cone doesn’t have the highest usage rate among Northern Arizona’s starters this season, he’s literally 0.1 percentage points behind the leader, junior guard Liam Lloyd.

The 5-foot-10 and 165-pound Cone is a smaller point guard that is just a pure bucket-getter. He’s really quick and agile, leading to Cone being able to create his own shot from almost anywhere on the floor.

And that tends to work for the Northern Arizona offense to allow Cone to get his own looks from different spots on the offensive end, as he led the team in scoring last season at a whopping clip of more than 18 points per game. He’s a good shooter from deep for his career (37.6 percent) and from the mid-range (46.2 percent).

We’re probably going to see a high volume of three-point attempts and pull-up mid-range jump shots from Cone in this game. Northern Arizona is a high-volume three-point shooting team in general, taking more than 27 attempts from beyond the arc per game good for 40th in the country.

Cone and Lloyd are the volume three-point shooters for this team, leading the way with 33 and 31 three-point attempts, respectively.

But neither was remarkably efficient from deep to start the season, with both guards shooting around 33 percent from beyond the arc thus far.

And given the nature of Cone’s game, where he solely relies on creating his own looks more often than not, I like how Texas matches up here. Between sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter and senior guard Marcus Carr, Texas has excellent perimeter defense that will get the size advantage over Cone.

Texas should be able to limit Cone’s effectiveness by challenging him each and every possession with strong on-ball perimeter defense. And this promises to be one of the most disruptive defenses on the perimeter that Cone faces all season.

I like Texas to hold Cone to single digits scoring in this game. If Texas could pull that off, it would be the first time since Northern Arizona’s opener last season that he didn’t score in double figures against a major conference foe.