Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CIT Quarterfinals

Last post, I previewed UTA's first round opponent in the CollegeInsiders.com tournament and ended the post with:

I see two possible outcomes, either a big UTA win or a close UTA loss. Either way, it is fun to talk Maverick basketball after the conference tournament.

It did end up as a big win, with the Mavericks defeating Savannah State 75-59. The team played very well in all facets of the game, as well as for most of the game. There was a stretch in the first half where SSU almost tied the game, and at the end, once the contest was well decided, but UTA did very, very well otherwise in earning the program's first postseason victory.

As a team with an RPI in the top three of the remaining teams in the tournament, UTA was given a second round bye into the quarterfinals. Their opponent was announced Monday. The New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

CIT Bound

With the regular season over, the UT-Arlington men's basketball program had high hopes entering the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. After a rough stretch of four SBC loses in a row, already slim at-large chances to the NCAA tournament disappeared. There was a chance that their entire post-season possibilities could go up in flames if they didn't right the ship.

But right the ship they did, as they won eight of the next ten. Including in that streak was a win over Louisiana-Lafayette, which allowed them to jump a spot in the SBC standings. I think that would be one of the better wins of the year. It all but guaranteed a first round bye in the conference tournament as well. As it would turn out, UTA would clinch the third seed. The two losses in that streak were to the top two teams in the conference, Little Rock and Louisiana-Monroe though the last one was a tight affair.

That set the stage for the conference tournament. After getting eliminated last year by the Texas State Bobcats, UTA's in-state rival won their first round match-up, which would set up a rematch. After trailing at halftime, the Mavericks stormed back to take a 72-63 win, setting the stage for another shot at the Warhawks from Monroe. Things looked good early, as the Mavs would stake a 14-3 lead to open the affair, but that would really end the highlights, as the Mavs would end up on the short end of an 82-71 score that really wasn't that close.

For many Mav faithful, the season was over, but I knew it would go on. I didn't think an NIT invite was likely, and I certainly knew there was not going to be an NCAA invite. But I had a feeling the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, or CIT, was in the Mavs future, and that another game at College Park Center was on the horizon.