UT-Arlington Mavericks at Kentucky Wildcats: Game Preview

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky takes on UT-Arlington tonight in the second leg of the Keightley Classic in Rupp Arena at 7:30 pm.

Tonight, Kentucky takes on the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks. Once again, this game is part of the Keightley Classic exempt event. This is the first-ever meeting between Kentucky and UT-Arlington, so let's get a feel for the school, shall we?

General

About UT-Arlington

  • Location: Arlington, Texas
  • Conference: Sun Belt
  • Head Coach: Scott Cross (took over in 2006)
  • NCAA Appearances: 1, 2008
  • Founded: 1895
  • Enrollment: 15,875
  • Last season's record 19-14 overall, 11-7 conference, RPI 121

Source: Basketball State

Season so far:

UT-Arlington comes into tonights game 2-2, having lost convincingly to a good Boise St. team, defeating Samford and Division III Howard Payne, then losing to Kentucky's next opponent in the Keightley Classic, the Cleveland St. Vikings.

UT-Arlington roster

NO NAME Status HT/WT POS Year/EXP Hometown/High School/Last College
35 Edwards, Brandon S* 6-6/224 Forward SR/3L Fort Worth, Texas/South Hills
13 Dillard, Vincent S* 6-5/200 Forward RS JR/TR Sanford, Florida/Lake Brantley/Colby CC
5 Lagerson, Stuart S* 7-0/220 Center RS JR/2L Converse, Texas/Judson
1 Dowell, Reger S* 6-1/183 Guard SR/TR Duncanville, Texas/Duncanville/Oklahoma State
22 McClanahan, Lonnie S 6-1/175 Guard JR/TR Oak Ridge, Tenn./Oak Ridge/Kilgore College
12 White-Miller, Shaquille MR** 5-9/176 Guard SR/3L Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial
21 Gainey, Greg MR* 6-5/212 Forward SR/1L Dayton, Ohio/Marshall/South Plains College
3 Outler, Jamel MR* 6-2/183 Guard JR/1L Houston, Texas/Bellaire/Texas Tech
15 McElvain, Kyle R* 6-2/191 Guard SR/1L Arlington, Texas/Pantego Christian/Texas Wesleyan
4 Charles, Drew R* 6-2/193 Guard SO/1L Azle, Texas/Azle
2 Davis, Luke R* 6-1/154 Guard SO/1L Lubbock, Texas/Monterey
45 Bilbao, Jorge R 6-8/190 Forward FR/HS Bilbao, Biscay, Spain//Loiola Indautxu
44 Walker, Anthony R 6-9/210 Forward JR/TR San Antonio, Texas/Johnson/South Plains College
25 Austin, Courtney R 6-0/185 Guard JR/TR Dallas, Texas/Kimball/Paris College
11 Williams, Brandon R 6-10/200 Forward FR/HS Houston, Texas/Episcopal
10 Hill, Johnny R 6-3/180 Guard JR/TR Glendale Heights, Illinois/Glenbard East/Illinois State








Legend




S Starter




MR Major reserve




* Returning player




** Returning starter




Player notes

  • The Mavericks lost 4 starters from last season. White-Miller is the only returning starter

  • Edwards and Gainey are major returners from last season off the bench.

  • White-Miller is the best returning 3-point shooter.

  • Dowell, the Oklahoma St. transfer, is the most dangerous shooter on the team (40% from three) as well as the leading scorer (26 ppg). He sat out his year in residence last season.

  • Edwards is the leading rebounder on the team with 11.3 per game, and is also the second leading scorer at 17.5 ppg.

  • McClanahan is the assists (4.2) and turnovers (5).

Injuries

  • None known for either side

Likely matchups

Starters

  • Lonnie McClanahan vs. Andrew Harrison — Harrison and Calipari are still "not on the same page," according to Coach Cal, but he is getting better every game. McClanahan has more college experience, but he is up against a bigger, stronger, taller, and more skilled point guard. Advantage: Kentucky

  • Reger Dowell vs. Aaron Harrison — Dowell is a scoring machine, and he will be a major challenge for Aaron Harrison to guard. He is quicker, much more experienced at the Division I level (3 years as a reserve at Oklahoma St.) and cannot ever be left alone on the perimeter. This is a matchup to watch closely to see how Aaron matches up against a smaller, quicker player with great skill. Advantage: Draw

  • Vincent Dillard vs. James Young — Dillard is a decent size matchup for Young, and he has some athleticism as well. He honed his craft at the JUCO level and has played well, if not spectacularly this season. Dillard shoots it well from the perimeter, and can slash and rebound as well. He plays good defense, also.

    Dillard will challenge Young, and although Young looks much better on paper, this really isn't a huge mismatch. Advantage: Kentucky

  • Brandon Edwards vs. Julius Randle — Defensively, Randle will have his hands full with Edwards. Edwards is a 4-year player at UTA, and although he isn't a major 3-point threat, he will shoot it if left alone, and makes an acceptable percentage, around 30%. But where Edwards shines is on the glass, where he is in the top 150 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percent. He is also a very efficient scorer, and shoots the ball well from the line.

    Although Randle will beat just about anybody at his position in the country because of his strong inside play and extraordinarily quick feet, Edwards should give him a very good matchup, and if Randle doesn't bring his "A" game, he could find out just how effective Edwards really is. Advantage: Kentucky

  • Stuart Lagerson vs. Willie Cauley-Stein — Lagerson is a redshirt junior with 2 letters at UTA. He gives them some size in the paint at 7'0" tall, but at only 220#, he is a bit of a beanpole. Lagerson is mostly in the game to protect the rim, and doesn't do a lot of scoring except on putbacks and the occasional lob. He is also not a strong rebounder, averaging only 2.8 caroms per game. WCS is much more active and athletic. Dakari Johnson presents an even bigger challenge for Lagerson due to his greater overall size. Advantage: Kentucky

Bench

Jamel Outler is a dangerous player coming off of the Maverick's bench. The reserve guard shoots the ball at 40% from the arc and is averaging more minutes than Lagerson. Shaquille White-Miller is also a quality bench player and the second-leading assist man.

But Kentucky has perhaps the best bench in college basketball, and when it goes nine deep, it's even more intimidating. Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins are almost impossible to answer. Advantage: Kentucky

Analysis

Like John Calipari, Scott Cross teaches defense as the way to win ball games, and this Mavericks squad will absolutely defend you. This team has shooters that can absolutely kill you from the perimeter if they get hot, and the Mavericks get almost 30% of their scoring from the outside, which is above the Division I average.

UTA plays a lot of zone, so we will get a good look at how the Wildcats attack zone defenses. They also love to run, having one of the higher paces in college basketball, so we'll get to see how the Calipari project to improve transition defense is coming along.

The Mavericks take care of the basketball, rebound the ball very well offensively, and block almost 6% of their opponent's shots. They also get about 6.1% steals, which is just another indicator of how seriously this team will take defense. Kentucky will get few easy looks from this team unless it runs more and better than it did against the Colonials on Saturday.

This should be a comfortable win for Kentucky, Ken Pomeroy has it at 98%. With that said, Michigan St.'s newly-minted #1 ranking was challenged by a tough Portland Pilots team at home on Monday, so you cannot take any of these teams from smaller conferences for granted.

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