MBB: Mavs at Weber State for Sears BracketBusters
Feb. 17, 2012
UT Arlington Men's Basketball Game Preview
UT Arlington (20-5) vs. Weber State (21-4)
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 - 7 pm CT
Ogden, Utah (Dee Events Center)
Radio: KVCE-AM (1160)/kvceradio.com
Series: First meeting
UT Arlington trades Southland Conference play for a spot in the national spotlight Saturday night (7 p.m.) opposite Weber State in the Sears BracketBusters series. The marquee nonconference matchup pits a pair of 20-win teams that are among the best in mid-major college basketball this season.
The Mavericks (20-5) are ranked 18th in the latest collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. The Wildcats (21-4) come in one slot higher at No. 17.
UTA has won a school-record 16 consecutive games to record only the fourth 20-win season in school history. Weber State has claimed 15 of its last 16, and is a perfect 14-0 at home.
Both squads are leading their respective conference. The Mavericks are 12-0 in the Southland, while Weber State is 13-1 in the Big Sky. The two programs are meeting for the first time, and the showdown is being shown nationally on ESPN3.
"Weber State presents another set of great opportunities for our guys," UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. "I know our players are very fired up about the opportunity to play on ESPN3 and show the world that we have a legit basketball program and can compete with a top program like Weber State.
"We also have an opportunity to break another UTA record by extending our 16-game win streak, and we also have the opportunity to tie a record for the most wins (21) in the history of the program. We know that Weber State is extremely talented and well coached, but we are looking forward to the challenge."
UTA is in the midst of the fourth 20-win season in school history. The others are: 20-8 (1980-81), 20-9 (1990-91) and 21-12 (2007-08). Cross coached the latter squad, which also reached the NCAA Tournament.
Cross is also one victory shy of becoming the third coach in UTA history with 100 wins. The other two are Eddie McCarter (162-199) and Bob "Snake" LeGrand (122-184).
UTA leading scorer LaMarcus Reed (16.8 ppg) recently became the 22nd player in UTA history with at least 1,000 career points. The senior has 416 points this season to push his total to 1,061.
The Mavericks nearly had their winning streak snapped Wednesday in Nacogdoches. UTA rallied from a 15-point deficit late in the first half to beat Stephen F. Austin, 51-47, in a matchup between the top two teams in the Southland Conference West Division.
Reed paced UTA with 16 points, but this victory was locked up on the defensive end. SFA scored only 15 points in the second half, shooting just 19 percent. Bo Ingram scored 13 for UTA. Jordan Reves added nine rebounds and six blocks, with all the rejections coming in the second half.