Oral Roberts (18-14) at Texas-Arlington (19-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 20, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: None. CIT Record: ORU 0-1, Texas-Arlington 0-0. Series Record: Tied, 3-3.
GAMES NOTES: In the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles will square off with the Texas-Arlington Mavericks at the College Park Center on Wednesday night.
The second round matchup for the winner will be determined based on results from the rest of Wednesday's first round contests.
Oral Roberts is making its second appearance in the CIT. Its first ended in an opening round exit after a 64-57 overtime letdown against SMU in the 2011 edition. This season the Golden Eagles have posted an 18-14 overall record but they have lost four of their last five games including a 58-55 setback against Sam Houston State in the Southland Conference Tournament.
Texas-Arlington made it all the way to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament finals but fell short with a 64-55 loss to New Mexico State. The loss was the third in the last five games for the Mavericks who are just a win away from their second-consecutive 20-win season. This will mark UTA's first time playing in the CIT.
In six previous meetings these teams have split the decisions. UTA won the most recent affair when it grabbed an 83-77 victory at home during the 2001-02 campaign.
Poor execution on the offensive end doomed Oral Roberts against Sam Houston State. The Golden Eagles managed to connect on just 39.5 percent of their shots from the floor while making good on just 2-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc. Warren Niles finished the game with 19 points to pace the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles were one of the more impressive offensive teams in the Southland Conference this season. They score 70.3 points per game and connect on 46.1 percent of their attempts from the field which was the second best mark in the league. Niles (19.1 ppg) is a pure scorer who can knock it in from long range as well as closer to the basket. Damen Bell-Holter (15.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg is a force to be reckoned with on the interior with his ability to score and crash the boards. Shawn Glover (14.1 ppg) provides additional offensive punch although he is coming off a 1-of-7 effort against Sam Houston State.
The Mavericks also struggled on the offensive end in their loss to New Mexico State by hitting just 39.3 percent from the field. However, the real difference in the contest was on the boards where the Mavericks had a 41-29 disadvantage despite Kevin Butler's double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds).
If the Mavericks are going to compete with the Golden Eagles they will need to continue to play tough on defense. They are letting up just 62.1 points per game on the 18th-best opponent field-goal percentage (.388) in the country. That has made up for their rather pedestrian offensive efforts (63.9 ppg, .412 FG percentage). Butler (11.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg) is the only player putting in more than 10 points per game for the Mavericks. Jordan Reves (8.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.2 bpg) is tough on the boards, while also proving to be a solid defender on the interior.
As long as the Mavericks can control the pace and keep the Golden Eagles from getting into a rhythm they should be able to defend their home floor with success.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-Arlington 66, Oral Roberts 62
03/20 10:31:19 ET