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

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UT Arlington Hoops Catch-Up Because I Haven’t Blogged in a Few Weeks and The Mavericks Won a Huge Game in the NIT

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

Mavs Defeat Little Rock, Take Sole Possession of 1st

award_ribbon_blue_1st_tThe 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

Mavs Fly Past Rival University of North Texas Eagles 77-61

UTA 76, UNT 6120161203_160103_800w

It was my first time seeing a game in the Super Pit. We fought chilly, dreadful misty, rainy driving conditions up I-35 but once we got there, seeing  a game there for the first time was a pretty enjoyable experience…a huge parking lot right across from the facility adjacent to Fouts Field, ticket booths located at the entrances inside the building, a good game-day presentation, great seat pitch where you could easily see over the row in front of you, a bright 4-sided video board over center court and no lines at the plentiful concession stands and restrooms. At $5, a general admission ticket is a bargain. The big bowl-style arena seats about 10,000, with a concourse dividing the upper and lower halves of the arena. For an arena almost 50 years old, it has aged well.

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Good seat for only $5

The two questions going into today:

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Mavs Improve to 3-3 in Interesting Matchup of Styles

UTA (3-3) 80, Mount St. Mary’s (1-5) 71

20161123_205519bI’ll admit I was intrigued by this matchup for the last few days. UTA still trying to recapture the offensive flow and smooth ball movement that worked so well for them last year and overcoming the well-documented frequent second-half offensive lulls this season; Mount St. Mary’s plays an very uptempo offense with a trapping, pressing defense. I figured it would be Continue reading

Mavs Defeat Talented NAIA Opponent

UTA 88, University of St. Francis 67

Nothing really unexpected Monday night. Every team plays one or two of those games a year…a smaller opponent comes to your arena, the home team wins by 20 and gets to work20161121_201958aon some things offensively, the visitors get to play the biggest opponent they’ll likely face all year.

Like I said, nothing really unexpected but still fun basketball to watch.

It was a nice confidence builder for the Mavs,
who needed one after losing three halftime leads on the road to good opponents in as many games. The final score was 88-67 but felt much closer for most of the game.

St. Francis, an NAIA team playing in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, has some really good players that could play at the mid-major level. And they played a solid game and showed poise breaking through the

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Defeat Snatched from the Jaws of Victory

Concerned PuppyLouisiana-Monroe 76,
UTA 73 (OT)
Going into tuesday night’s game, it looked like a classic basketball matchup: the super-quick guards of UTA vs. a tall and athletic ULM front line. Which would prevail: speed or size?

For the first half, UTA (8-6, 2-2) played nearly perfect defense and drove to the paint at will, finding open gaps around the basket for easy layups. UTA lead by 10 24-14 at one point, and by halftime, ULM (8-5, 2-1) was only shooting 26%, making only 18% of their threes (3-16). A cool Erick Neal underhand layup at the buzzer put the Mavs up 28-20 after 20:00, and it looked like the Mavs were on their way to a big win at home. Continue reading

So Many Ways to Score

UTAfireworks20131115_214857Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015, where the Mavs have won 5 in a row, are now 2-0 in conference and 8-4 overall. And with 5 of the first 7 conference games being played at College Park Center, the Mavs have a chance to add a few more wins to that total by the time we get about halfway through conference play.

A big key has been getting off to fast starts in front of the home crowd, then holding on in the second half. But the best part might be is than an offense really shooting the ball well from outside (the Mavs lead the conference in 3 pt. percentage at .374) is also scoring lots of points in the paint too.
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