The Texas Longhorns ring in the 2024 calendar year by hosting the UT Arlington Mavericks at home on Monday in their final tune up before Big XII play begins.
UT Arlington Mavericks vs. Texas Longhorns (-18.5, 146.5)
Like a lot of teams, UT Arlington was impacted early in the season by many of the two-time non-graduate transfers being ineligible and are finally while with guard Phillip Russell now in the lineup after missing the first nine games of the season.
In his three games with the team, Russell is averaging a team-high 17.7 points, 4.3 assists, and two steals per game to aid a team who’s strength has been on the glass.
Entering Sunday, UT Arlington ranked 47th in the nation in percentage of missed shots that resulted in an offensive rebound, corralling 32.7% of their missed shots and are one of just four teams with two different qualifying players: DaJuan Gordon and Shemar Wilson, both averaging more than eight rebounds per game.
While the return of forward Dylan Disu gives the Longhorns another forward at their disposal, the team still has just two players averaging more than four rebounds per game this season and will look to control this game from the perimeter.
The weakness of UT Arlington this season has been their 3-point shooting defense, ranking 317th in the nation with opponents making 36.4% of their outside shots, with many of their defensive woes coming at home as this percentage drops to 35% in games played away from home, ranking 235th entering Sunday.
Prior to Russell’s return, UT Arlington did not gave a player on the roster averaging at least three assists per game and with him now running the show, a Mavericks team that is currently 355th in turnovers per possession should be more efficient and give the Longhorns an unexpected test to start 2024.
The Play: UT Arlington +18.5