A Schedule for the Ages

20151230_211056_600The 2017-2018 UT Arlington basketball schedule was released recently, and all I can say is that it’s the best single-year home overall schedule that I can ever recall the Mavs putting together. It’s loaded with winnable games against well-known teams at home and on the road that should generate some buzz at the arena’s box office and help the Mavs’ chances for the postseason via strength of schedule and potential RPI ranking.

Mid-major scheduling is never easy: big schools pays mid-majors up to $100,000 to play on the road, and mid-majors with considerable smaller athletics budgets usually scheduling other mid-major or smaller-conference schools to fill out their home slates. In other words, a school’s relative position on the basketball food chain largely determines who it plays on the road––and who it is able to host. And when you win consistently, big schools with big paycheck generally (and understandably) avoid you. The Star Telegram wrote a good piece a couple of weeks ago about UTA’s scheduling difficulties, and this article from 2010 is quite interesting and still very relevant seven years later. You may even recall last year’s non-conference schedule that Texas Southern had to endure, playing in Arlington at 7:00 on a saturday night and then appearing for a lunchtime game in Delaware less than 24 hours later. So, a good strategy for top-50 RPI schools like UTA is to line up home-and-home series with other successful mid-major schools in similar situations. And for the upcoming season, this strategy appears to have worked to perfection.

Over the years, UTA has welcomed well-known non-conference teams like TCU, Air Force, Oral Roberts, Lamar and New Mexico to the stage at Texas Hall. More recently, the Mavs have hosted some impressive squads like Oklahoma and Boise State in College Park’s Center first full home season.

Our fans and players will appreciate that we have some very good home games against quality opponents. Playing in College Park Center gives us a significant home court advantage, especially with the enthusiasm we experienced in last year’s NIT run.
–UTA head coach Scott Cross

So after going 15-1 at home last season and averaging 2,798 fans per game at College Park Center in 2017-2018, Coach Cross and his staff put together a great home schedule with some good opportunities for wins on the road as well. Fans will get to enjoy Arlington appearances by the always exciting Loyola Marymount, longtime rival North Texas, Conference USA member Rice, metroplex foe University of Dallas, Cal-Poly and the fast-paced squad known as Dunk City (Florida Gulf Coast).

Conference games are back to Thursdays and Saturdays this season (except for the east coast swing at Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State in December). Arkansas State has a new coach and big-time recruits and the games against former Southland coaches Bob Marlin (Louisiana) and Danny Kaspar (Texas State) have become annual can’t-miss games on the schedule.

With Texas not renewing the seemingly yearly series with the Mavericks, this year’s non-conference road games will include a tantalizing rematch with BYU, a 22-win squad the Mavericks simply destroyed in Provo in the 2016-2017 NIT with a statement-making 105-89 win. With the Cougars healthy and the Mavs graduating four key seniors, UTA may have a tough time following up what may have been the biggest win in school history.

The Mavs will also play at Alabama, Creighton, UT Rio Grande Valley and in a Buffalo, New York tournament featuring Western Carolina, Niagara and Alabama A&M. Difficult conference road tests at Little Rock, Arkansas State, Louisiana and Georgia State will loom large as well.

We’ll over-analyze this slate much more in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s a calendar-style look at the challenging path the Mavs will have to take to the NCAA tournament:

UTA Men’s Basketball 2017 – 2018

Home games in Blue      Road games in Orange

November 2017

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11
Loyola Mary-mount
7:00

Homecoming

12

13

14

15

16

17

18
at BYU
Time TBA

19

20

21
at Alabama
Time TBA

22

23

24
vs. Western Carolina (Buffalo, NY)
Time TBA

25
vs. Niagara
or Alabama A&M
(Buffalo, NY)
Time TBA

26

27
UT Dallas
7:00

28

29
Rice
7:00

30

 

 

December 2017

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

 

 

 

 

 

1

2
North Texas
Time TBA

3

4

5

6

7
at Northern Iowa
7:00

8

9
Florida Gulf Coast Time TBA

10

11

12

13

14

15

16
at UT Rio Grande Valley
7:00

17

18
at Creighton
Time TBA

19

20

21
Cal Poly
7:00

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29
at Coastal Carolina
Time TBA
Sun Belt

30

31
at App. State
Time TBA
Sun Belt

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2018

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

 

1

2

3

4
Troy
7:00
Sun Belt

5

6
South Alabama
4:30
Sun Belt

7

8

9

10

11
at
Little Rock
Time TBA
Sun Belt

12

13
at Arkansas State
Time TBA
Sun Belt

14

15

16

17

18
Louisiana
7:00
Sun Belt

19

20
Louisiana-Monroe
4:30
Sun Belt

21

22

23

24

25
at Georgia State
Time TBA
Sun Belt

26

27
at Georgia Southern
Time TBA
Sun Belt

28

29

30

31

 

 

 

February 2018

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

 

 

 

 

1
App. State
7:00
Sun Belt

2

3
Coastal Carolina
4:30
Sun Belt

4

5

6

7

8

9

10
Texas State
4:30
Sun Belt

11

12

13

14

15
at Louisiana-Monroe
Time TBA
Sun Belt

16

17
at Louisiana
Time TBA
Sun Belt

18

19

20

21

22
Georgia Southern
7:00

23

24
Georgia State
4:30

25

26

27

28

 

 

 

March 2018

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

 

 

 

 

1

2

3
at Texas State
Time TBA
Sun Belt

4

5

6

7
Sun Belt Tourn.
First Round

8

9
Sun Belt Tourn.
Quarter-
finals

10
Sun Belt Tourn.
Semi-
finals

11
Sun Belt Tourn.
Champ.
Game

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

Generated by FreeHTMLCalendar.com Copyright © 2011 John Dalbey.

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One thought on “A Schedule for the Ages

  1. I’m not really impressed with the non-conference schedule, it’s pretty weak and our odds of a high RPI are low. I’m of course excited about UNT and Rice b/c I love in-state rivals …. but outside of that, I can take it or leave it. UT Dallas is a joke and nobody cares about them.

    But overall I’m excited for the season and being introduced to new players.

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