Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
In the second game of the season, the UT-Arlington Mavericks play host to the Oklahoma Sooners, the first of three Big XII opponents on their schedule, in one of the best arenas in the country, College Park Center.
This week, the Oklahoma Sooners take to the road as they travel to take on the UT-Arlington Mavericks, a team who is taking a step up in level of competition this season. UT-Arlington has made the jump to the WAC from the Southland Conference, a conference they dominated a year ago. However, their road does not end there as they will leave the WAC after a single season for the Sunbelt Conference.
In other news, UT-Arlington will be hosting Oklahoma for Homecoming in their newly built arena that debuted late last season.
Date: Friday, November 16th
Tip: 7:00 pm (CST)
Location: College Park Center
Television: Fox Southwest Plus
Radio: Sooner Radio Network
Taking a peek into this year, UT-Arlington appears to be loaded with talent, transfers, and experience. Last season, the Mavericks were a hot team that made an appearance in the NIT, something the Sooners failed to do in Lon Kruger's first season as head coach. From that team, they will return their leading scorer in Kevin Butler as well as two other starters, Shaquille White-Miller and Jordan Reves. While Butler averaged 10.8 points per game on 45% shooting last season, he will have to earn his points possibly coming off the bench this year courtesy of a transfer.
UT-Arlington picked up Sophomore Jamel Outler from the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Outler has been a standout in the first game pouring in 15 points. However, it was Jordan Reves starring in the show as he added 13 points from the post position to go along with 14 rebounds in their first game. The player who got the start over Butler is Poland native forward Karol Gruszecki, a 6-5 200lb transfer from North Platte CC.
As a team, the Mavericks could surprise a few specifically in the rebound margin. They showed they were capable of crashing the boards but pulling down 53 rebounds in their opener. But, it could be free throws that will hurt them. They are coming off a close 62-60 victory against Cal State Bakersville while making 58.3% of the free throws.
Oklahoma on the other will challenge this team as UT-Arlington is a team that routinely plays 7-8 deep. Athleticism could once again be on showcase as in a twist, the Sooners are the bigger team. Yes, the Mavs have a 7-footer who most likely will not play leaving Reves as the tallest player on the court at 6-10. The height significantly drops from there to next in line a multiple players standing 6-6. Expect the Sooners to impose their style of play on the opposition while testing their conditioning.
Once again, to throw out a score prediction that will most likely land far from the actual end score, I'm throwing out a 79-64 victory for Oklahoma. Reves will create problems for the Sooners defensively but he will not be able to carry this team to victory alone. That leaves my player of the game going to Buddy Hield.