Opponent: Texas-Arlington Mavericks
Date: December 2. 2020
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 8-0.
The Mavericks (1-2)
The return of Jordan Phillips to Bud Walton Arena. Phillips was a part of the 2018 Arkansas recruiting class. He injured his knee in summer workouts and had to miss the beginning of the season. When he returned, Phillips never found his groove and decided to transfer in December. He has now found a home back in Texas with UTA. Phillips now plays 20 minutes a game off the bench for the Mavericks.
UTA brought in JUCO transfer Shahada Wells who has been their leading scorer so far this year at 18.0 points per game. He also has 3.3 steals per game which is an insane number. David Azore was a preseason All-Sun Belt Team selection and is living up to that honor so far. The 6-4 guard averages 14.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
The Mavericks were selected 3rd in the Sun Belt West by the coaches in the preseason. In their first game, they gave Oklahoma State all they wanted. UTA hosted the Cowboys and lost by just 7.
The 2 keys to the Mavericks pulling an upset against Arkansas would be to force a high amount of turnovers and hit from 3-point range. UTA has been able to force turnovers so far, but has really struggled from 3. They have shot 29.0% from beyond the arc.
The Razorbacks (2-0)
Arkansas heads into game 3 after 2 games that looked very different. MVSU wanted to a fast paced and a fast paced game is what they got in the 80-point loss. North Texas has one of the slowest paces in the country, but they couldn’t handle the tough Arkansas defense.
As a result of that slow pace, the Arkansas offense has a tough time finding any rhythm. The shooting was poor and the turnovers were high. Justin Smith and Connor Vanover played great games, but everyone else had their struggles.
What you have to love about this team so far is how much they get to the free throw line. Through 2 games, the Hogs rank 13th in the nation with 29.5 FTA per game. That is a long-term recipe for success.
In tonight’s game, Arkansas must take care of the basketball, shoot better, and dominate the boards. UTA starts 5 players 6-7 or smaller. Take advantage of the height difference and create 2nd chance opportunities.