DO NOT overlook the Mavericks here, as this is an experienced and taletned team. I promise you this is not me trying to prop up a weak team, just in case this game is close...because this game should be close. UT-Arlington won 24 games a year ago and they return their top 6 scorers. A year ago they won at Ohio State by 5, they won at Memphis by 4 and they came dangerously close to knocking off Texas, losing in overtime. This team isn't afraid of a Big Ten team, especially one that won just 8 games a year ago. As Zips pointed out, last year's season was derailed when Kevin Hervey tore his ACL and this very good mid-major team lost a amajor weapon.
|Pos.||Minnesota Golden Gophers||Pnt/Gm||Pnt/Gm||UT Arlington Mavericks||Pos.|
|PG||Nate Mason||15.0||10.0||Ericfk Neal||PG|
|G||Dupree McBrayer||15.0||3.0||Drew Charles||G|
|F||Amir Coffey||13.0||23.0||Jalen Jones||G|
|F||Jordan Murphy||6.0||9.0||Faith Pope||F|
|C||Reggie Lynch||10.0||5.0||Jorge Bilbao||F|
|Bench||Eric Currey||9.0||19.0||Kaelon Wilson||Bench|
|Bench||Akeem Springs||11.0||16.0||Kevin Hervey||Bench|
|Bench||Michael Hurt||2.0||4.0||Nathan Hawkins||Bench|
Do not overlook the Mavericks.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Take Care of the Ball - This team will defend and force turnovers. The Gophers absolutely have to take care of the ball or the Mavericks will turn those turnovers into transisiton buckets and put us in a hole. Overall this team is very good defensively. So buckets will be harder to come by this game, but don't make it easy on them with a rash of turnovers. Take care of the ball and give yourself a chance on every possession.
Get to Their Shooters - Last year they took a high percentage of threes in their offense, unfortunately for them they didn't make a very high percentage. Of the total shots they took, 42% of them were threes (43rd in the country). They only connected on 32.5% of them (270th). In their season opener against Texas Southern they shot just 4/24 from behind the arc. I'm not comfortable assuming they won't hit tonight, so let's get to shooters and make sure that percentage stays low.
I'm kinda nervous about this one to be honest. If the Mavericks hit some three's early I fear that they get rolling and play with some confidence. I predict that McBrayer has a nice game containing Jones and Jordan Murphy has a big game in the paint as the Gophers pull out a close one and win by 7.