Happy post #100!
With that out of the way, I'll dive into a topic that I rarely venture into for the 100th. Regular readers know I tread carefully into ranking subjective material. For example, rather than say the 1981 UT Arlington Men's Basketball team was the most talented ever, which is my opinion, I'd say they were one of the greatest, allowing others to their opinion of which is the greatest. I know people like lists, especially top ten, but I leave that for others to decide, at least for now.
That said, there are the slam dunks, which only the fringe can deny, like for example to 1967 football team achieved the greatest success, but those are few and far between. I think today's topic qualifies.
In its brief history, CPC has seen some big games, but there has not been the back-to-back games that have the meaning of this week. UTA sits in fourth in the Sun Belt Conference standings at 8-5. Louisiana-Monroe is a half game ahead at 9-5 and Louisiana-Lafayette is a game ahead of them at 10-4. Both teams beat UTA on their home court. The Mavericks were in the middle of a four-game losing streak and five losses in six games, most of that triggered by the loss of Kevin Hervey.
The Louisiana travel partners are tough opponents no question. Those teams have a total of one loss on their home court. However, the converse is equally astounding and is promising for UTA. At a combined 5-18, they could hardly qualify as road warriors. The Cajuns are 3-3 in SBC road play, while ULM is 1-5.
There's a lot on the line. A sweep by UTA means, at minimum, the Mavs leap frog ULM and are a half game out of second. That is huge. The tiebreakers favor the Cajuns, pending the Little Rock game, but first and second place get a double bye in the SBC tourney. Third and fourth get a single bye. An extra day's rest against a team with an extra game of play...
After this game, UTA plays only one of the next five against the top half of the Sun Belt, though Arkansas State is in the middle. There is one two-game road trip left too. The schedule smiles favorably on the MAvericks if they can get it done this week.
The Louisiana squads have a similar easy road, with Georgia State and Georgia Southern the toughest teams to visit the Warhawks and Cajuns.
That means, the time to move up is now. A top-two finish means a maximum of two wins to get in the NCAA tournament. Three games makes it tougher with increasingly tougher competition. The time is now. Thanks to the poor stretch in the middle of the conference season, there is no wiggle room.
Fans, I implore those that can make it to be there. CPC can be an intimidating place when there are 3,000 or more there. True Maverick fans need to be there for the biggest basketball week at CPC.