UT-Arlington Mavericks

I have no memory of exactly what season it was when I “discovered” the UT-Arlington Mavericks. I remember sitting at my desk in the home office of a house I had probably 10 or so years ago, with the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. It was definitely during the Coach Scott Cross years (2006 through 2018). I remember going through the Yearbook reading up on hoops teams I was unfamiliar with. Early season criteria I look for include returning starters and upperclassmen on the roster, coaching stability, last season’s results and this season’s upcoming schedule. Whatever season that was, Arlington rose to the top.

Since then, I have definitely made more money betting this squad than any other. My love for Arlington knows no bounds.

Those of you who read these pages regularly know I respect quality coaching and hold “good” coaches in very high regard. I never played basketball in any competitive sense, except on the family driveway. I was a swimmer most of my formative years, freestyle sprints mostly, with a little breaststroke and backstroke thrown in to keep me humble. I had neither the abs nor the coordination for butterfly. My high school swim coach was a guy by the name of Fatzinger. And we all hated him. We didn’t hate him because he was an awful person, we hated him because he was such a hard guy to please. But he got the best out of us. We were a pretty good team. And looking back, that dude taught me a lot.

I digress.

Scott Cross was a very good head coach, especially at the level he coached. Visit the Mavericks Wikipedia page if you want a little more in-depth information. Coach Cross attended UT-Arlington and played basketball on the team he would later coach. Cross was fired by the school’s athletic director at the end of the 2018 campaign. For more on Cross, you can read his Wiki page.

As stated earlier, one of the criteria I use evaluating college hoops squads is coaching stability. I was a little concerned that Cross was not at the helm this season. But this is not a love letter about Coach Cross. It is my attempt to get those of you who are new at this, or those of you who may be looking for another angle in your handicapping, to get to know a team and roll with that team for an entire season – or longer.

If a team shows stability with the coaching staff, then there is often stability throughout the program. Recruiting is tremendously important, especially for teams like Arlington who must compete against the “big dogs” in the state, you know, Baylor, Houston, Texas and Texas Tech. Not to mention the other programs, both in and out of state, which are also competing for talent.

So here’s the takeaway. Texas-Arlington may be playing on the fumes from the Scott Cross era. Chris Ogden is the new head coach, with only two players from last season’s squad, neither of them experienced starters. The rest of the team was tremendously under-experienced until this season started. You could say the “cupboards were bare.”

Today, The Mavericks traveled to San Marcos to play Texas State. Texas State was an 8.0-point favorite and my beloved Mavericks won in double overtime 84-77. You better know the Mavericks showed an enormous amount of heart to win this contest!

On the season, the Mavericks have now won 9 games and lost 12, but 5 wins and 4 losses in conference. More importantly, they are 13 and 6 Against the Spread (two games were not lined).

The only way for this team to advance to March Madness is to win the Sun Belt Conference tournament. However, if the Mavericks can finish strong with an overall winning record, they will very likely get an invitation to the NIT or another tournament. This will help with morale and future recruiting. And, hopefully, it will keep those of us who bet this squad cashing tickets.

You do not have to follow the Mavericks or even like them. But it will be to your future monetary benefit for you to find a team and get to know it. You can cash a lot of tickets this way and the individual team focus will also help you get to know the conference your squad plays in.

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