Texas-Arlington (0-0) at Boise State (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 8, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Taco Bell Arena (12,480) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: UTA 0-0, BSU 0-0. Away Record: UTA 0-0, BSU 0-0. Neutral Record: UTA 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: UTA 0-0, BSU 0-0. Series Record: Boise State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Mavericks of Texas-Arlington kick off the 2013-14 campaign this Friday night as they drop in on the Boise State Broncos at Taco Bell Arena in Idaho.
Beginning play in their third different league in as many seasons, the Mavericks now find themselves with a schedule loaded with Sun Belt Conference opponents, a year after competing in the Western Athletic. The team reached the WAC Tournament title game but lost to New Mexico State, 64-55.
Despite the setback, UTA was still invited to take part in the College Insider.com Tournament where it bowed to Oral Roberts, 84-76.
As for the Broncos, members of the Mountain West Conference after spending a long spell in the WAC, they appeared to be a force through the first two months of the 2012-13 campaign as they won all but two of their first 15 outings, but once the league slate began in earnest the victories dried up.
Boise State posted a 21-11 record overall and was 9-7 in conference, eventually making it to Dayton, Ohio in late March in order to do battle with the La Salle Explorers in the first round of the West Regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Broncos ended up on the wrong side of an 80-71 decision in that clash.
Boise State has won both previous meetings between the squads, including a 64-46 thrashing back in January in Arlington.
The Mavericks have two returning starters in Brandon Edwards and Shaquille White-Miller, the former being the top returning scorer for the group who produced a modest 7.8 ppg. Edwards shot an impressive 58.5 percent from the floor, but a not-so encouraging 24.0 percent behind the 3-point line. It was and remains far more important for Edwards to stay close to the basket where he has a chance to be a force on the glass, after clearing 7.3 rpg.
White-Miller was far from an important piece on offense a season ago as he shot only 28.9 percent from the floor and responded with a mere 4.9 ppg, but it was still imperative for him to log significant minutes given the fact that he led the program with 122 assists.
Jamel Outler (6.7 ppg) figures to be more involved this year and with that the team hopes he can improve on his dismal 31.6 percent shooting from the field, which was actually below his 31.9 percent out on the perimeter as he came off the bench in 31 games.
There are four seniors on the BSU roster, but there are two juniors (Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic) who are probably drawing more attention following strong 2012-13 campaigns. An All-MWC Second Team selection, Marks is a gifted guard who has the potential to earn national honors after averaging 16.5 ppg and producing a pair of 30-point efforts last season. Drmic, who like Marks has been selected to the preseason all-conference team, was the top scorer in MWC play with close to 19 points per outing as he is one of the most accurate 3-point shooters.
Other players who should draw plenty of attention for the Broncos this year are Jeff Elorriaga. Ryan Watkins and Igor Hadziomerovic. Elorriaga started all 29 games in which he appeared, putting up 10.2 ppg as he knocked down 84- of-188 (.447) beyond the arc as the most reliable 3-point threat for the program. Watkins is much more of an inside presence who not only threw in 8.4 ppg, he was also the leading rebounder for BSU with almost seven boards per contest.
Last season, the Mavericks scored the first season-opening road win in program history, a narrow 62-60 triumph over Cal State Bakersfield, but the Broncos don't figure to be as easy of a target with so much talent returning.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 74, Texas-Arlington 65
11/08 10:41:03 ET