How to Watch, Stream, Listen, Follow
Game Time: 8:00pm CT
Location: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE
Stream: Fox Sports GO
Radio: 1620AM the Zone in Omaha
Odds & Ends
Creighton is favored by 10.5 points according to Odds Shark. The over/under is set at 159 points.
Kenpom has the Bluejays winning this one 87-76 with an 86% chance of winning.
If you’re considering betting on this game you may be wondering what you could do instead. If you go to youtube.com and type in ‘funny videos’ into the search query, then hit enter, you might find hours of entertainment. Here’s an example:
Creighton and UT Arlington have played twice in their history.
The first occurance came on December 30th, 1993, in Hilo, Hawaii during the Big Island Invitation. The Bluejays won 81-63. The tournament was played at the Afook-Chinen Auditorium in Maui, with teams like Ohio, Chaminade, La Salle, and Tennessee Tech. It played second fiddle to the Maui Invitational, and was widely panned by the local media because only four of the eight teams had winning records. Former UT Arlington coach Eddie McCarter said this after losing the inaugural game to UConn, “"...I can guarantee you I'm not having a good time." He was in Hawaii.
The #15 Jays and Mavericks played again on November 17th, 2002 in the opening round of the Guardians Classic in Omaha. Creighton won in a rout, 106-50, with Kyle Korver pouring in 18 points, going 6-6 from three. The Jays ended up scoring 63 points in the second half, which probably means the Mavericks are looking for some sweet, sweet revenge.
Verba de Ludis
It appears as though everyone’s decided UT Arlington is a good team. You look at the World Herald and they’ve posted things like:
Don't recognize UT Arlington, Creighton's opponent tonight? You should, because the Mavericks are loaded with seniors and expect to make the NCAA tournament https://t.co/KDRFHZTyaD pic.twitter.com/TvjKPztJNC— World-Herald Jays (@OWHjays) December 18, 2017
I personally don’t recognize the Mavericks because I just don’t have the time to regularly watch Sun Belt basketball, but the implication that Arlington has a solid squad is right there.
White and Blue Review did the same thing, mentioning that Arlington is a ‘tough’ opponent:
In fact, one of our writers here on the site mentioned the Mavericks in our slack page, saying that he witnessed them play and beat BYU in person and mentioned that they could make some noise in March.
That’s the general consensus, that this is a good team that’s laden with seniors that could potentially upset the Bluejays in Omaha.
Is that warranted, though?
Arlington is good, solid. They have 8 seniors, four of them scoring in double digits. They beat BYU at BYU, they lost to a resurgent and very good Alabama team by a single point, and they lost a squeaker to old rival Northern Iowa.
They’re everything that a good cinderella mid major is made of. The tough guy coach, Scott Cross, who focuses on the intangibles, the grit, the overt toughness that his team exudes.
They’ve got the primetime scorer in Kevin Hervey, who averages 23.6 PPG and still gets his even in losses.
They’ve got a pair of seven footers in Johnny Hamilton and Link Kabadyundi.
They’ve got the snub, being overlooked last season for an at-large into the NCAA tournament and having to settle for the NIT.
This is a Bracketbuster game if I’ve ever seen one before.
We’ve seen this before.
In two of their losses this season, against Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast, the Mavericks had the lead early on in the first half. They come out swinging haymakers, punching their way to winning the first 10 minutes. From then on they fight to keep the lead for the next 10 minutes. Against Alabama, it worked. Against FGCU? Not so much.
After the first ten minutes of the second half we met the consistent variable to this Arlington team - they don’t adjust, but get adjusted to. Arlington lost their 5 point halftime lead to ‘Bama in the first ten minutes, a lead they never relinquished. They trailed by 5 to FGCU at half and then got blown out of the water out of the half.
Against UNI they played exceedingly well in the first half, trailing by 4 at the half. By the 7 minute mark in the 2nd half, they led by 7, seemingly cruising to victory.
Then they got rollercoastered:
Perhaps these are the breaks of a season, but against the toughest opponents they’ve faced they’ve suffered poor second halves. They have trouble closing. They punch themselves out.
Against a team like Creighton, who prides themselves on their conditioning and athleticism?
Good luck, Cinderella.
Song of the Day - Shakey Graves - Family and Genus