I spent the Thanksgiving holiday basically unplugged but now that it is over, I back in the blogging swing of things. In the meantime, I want to point you to a good fan site/blog, the Rusty Maverick, that does a good job of focusing on individual games. I recommend that if you are looking for that type of insight.
The Mavs men's basketball team recently completed a four-game road swing where they dropped every game, coupled with the previous home loss, UTA is on a five-game losing streak and is 2-6 on the year. Yet, I feel good. I'll analyze why.
As of Monday, UTA had one DI win against six losses. The combined record of all six teams is 31-12. Only Boise State had the outcome in hand early. UTA trailed Kentucky only eight at half and had an unfortunate break down to start the second. Otherwise, they were close for 30 total minutes. On Friday, the Mavs played one of their better games of the year against UT-Austin and probably should have won. I might air some grievances I have about the Horns in another post, but winning on the road is always a little more difficult. But sooner or later, if the program is to go where the coaches, admin and fans want it to go, they have to win those games. Excluding Kentucky and Boise State, the average margin of defeat was six and a quarter points in this losing streak. While defense has been subpar by our recent standards, the big problems has been the cold streak to start games.
Only Robert Morris was a bad loss in my opinion. Had UTA played them at CPC, maybe the outcome is different. Tough to say, as we never would know. But I do know this, UTA keeps getting better and better every game. That is encouraging for a team that has guys who didn't even suit up last year starting and/or logging major minutes.
It seems clear to me at this point that UTA isn't a top-level SBC team. But it also appears to me that they are better than the preseason prediction. The offense is light-years ahead of lasts years 19-win team. The defense has been suspect, but slowly getting better every game. I have faith that a Coach Cross team will never quit or give up on the defensive end. I suspect the D will continue to improve on into March.
Up next this week is another non-DI team in Dallas Baptist on Tuesday and Weber State on Saturday. There is a lot of angst over the multiple non-DI games at CPC this year. That happened because 1) UNT backed out of a home game at CPC and the late departures of Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic from the Sun Belt to Conference USA. Virtually every Sun Belt team has these types of teams on their schedule to fill the gaps.
Weber State plays at CPC to fulfill a Bracketbusters commitment from 2012 and is normally a power out of the Big Sky Conference. They made it to their conference tournament championship game and the CIT championship game last year. They are 1-3 on the young year, but the losses were to 6-2 BYU, 6-2 Colorado State and 5-1 Utah State. Two of the losses were less than ten points. They beat San Jose State handily, but that doesn't mean much, as they are rarely a challenge. I think we will know more about UTA after this game.
If I am right, it should be entertaining.