The 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
Playing catch-up since it’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged…
First, did you catch the excellent write-up by Sam Vecenie in the Sporting News about the Mavs? If not, quit reading my boring post and go read this. It’s really good. The definitive piece that really paints a picture of this season.
So let’s get back to the last few weeks…the Mavs finished conference play in a strong fashion, winning a eight in a row. Those wins included one of the most memorable come-from-behind wins in recent memory, Continue reading →
The Mavs continue to defend their home court, remaining undefeated at College Park Center this season and have been rewarded with sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt, now with a record of 19-6 and 9-3 league play.
How’d we get here? The 3-0 homestand started a week ago saturday on 2/4 in front a big afternoon crowd of 3483 (lower bowl mostly full, folks sitting in the upper level too). They were treated to an entertaining game against a much improved Texas State team that resulted in a 76-61 victory. Continue reading →
The UT Arlington Mavs are now 15-5 overall and 5-2 in conference. This weekend’s action showed how good UTA can be on defense, and how unstoppable the offense usually is. If you can win your home games and split the road contests, good things usually happen. The Mavs have won all their home conference games so far, and won 1 of 3 on the road.
Defense that held LA-Monroe to only 55 points
Saturday: UTA 71, UL-Monroe 55
Saturday’s opponent was a UL-Monroe team that is having a bit of a down year, with only six wins going into saturday’s contest. The Warhawks committed a few turnovers and missed some shots to start the game, but the threes weren’t falling for the Mavs and the first 20:00 was a pretty even contest, the Mavs going into halftime halftime only up by two at 33-31. Continue reading →
The Mavs seemed to re-find their groove during a tough game at South Alabama monday. The ball was moving, the defense was locked in, Hervey was making scoring look easy and the boards were being crashed hard. One of these nights, the three-point shot will be there too (like a 9-16 or 11 of 19 performance or something). With such a balanced conference, I’ve got to think 13 conference wins probably gets you in the top spot. Coastal Carolina’s only loss is to UTA, and Georgia Southern has yet to lose. This is gonna be fun to see how the the rest of the season plays out.
So after a couple of weekends of action where it seems anyone can win on any given night, it’s a good time to look at the standings:
After two tough losses on the road to hot-shooting Texas State and Troy, the Mavs picked up a badly needed win on the road. Kevin Hervey didn’t play at Troy saturday but came off the bench today to play 27 minutes and scoring 23. Nationally televised on ESPN 2, this was a very entertaining, uptempo contest with both teams getting up and down the floor and putting up a ton of points. Rarely was the shot clock much of a factor! After being down 43-40 at half, UTA went on a 16-0 run to take a 73-59 lead. Frustrating UTA with an effective press and slowing the game down a bit, South Alabama was able to get within 6 in the closing minutes, but the Mavs held on to win. Continue reading →