The UT Arlington Mavericks head to Spokane, Wash., to face off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Tuesday night. After starting their season 2-0, the Mavs have dropped two straight. While conference play has yet to begin, the Mavs have an extremely tough early-season schedule. The Bulldogs are undefeated so far this season and ranked 8th in the nation in the latest AP poll.
A win of this magnitude for the Mavericks could be huge in the highly competitive Sun Belt Conference and could work as a momentum-builder heading into conference play. The Bulldogs look to stay perfect and remain in the Top 10 in the nation. Gonzaga is favored by a massive 22 points headed into the game, with an over/under of 143.5.
Every Dog Has His Day
Returning for his second season, 6-4 combo guard David Azore leads the Mavs on both ends of the floor. Azore averages 10.5 points, 4.8 boards, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Fellow second-year combo guard Brian Warren also provides eight points and 3.5 assists per game. Warren hasn’t shot well from beyond the arc this season, as he’s shooting an abysmal 10 percent from deep.
The Mavs rank 13th in the nation in three-point attempts with 137. That’s right, already 137 attempts through four games. The issue here is they rank 254th in the country in three-point shooting percentage, coming in just under 30 percent. The offense likes to spread it out and bang threes, but they must convert at a higher clip than 29.9 percent if they want to keep it close against the Bulldogs.
Good Days Ahead For The Bulldogs
This year’s Gonzaga team is led by, well, everyone. The Bulldogs have six players averaging in double-digits this season. They rank second in the nation in field-goal percentage, shooting over 56 percent from the field. They also rank 21st in the nation in three-point shooting percentage, shooting over 42 percent, though they’ve only attempted 78 on the season.
Second-year Serbian forward Filip Petrusev leads the squad in both scoring and rebounding in the early going. He’s averaging 18.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. North Texas transfer Ryan Woolridge has distributed the ball well thus far, already tallying 5.3 assists per game. Woolridge is also a great on-ball defender, getting lots of deflections, and he’s averaging 1.4 steals per game.
Quite An Effort
Quite an effort, that’s what it would take for the Mavs to keep this one in the same area code against one of the top teams in the nation. They would need to continue the barrage of threes but would need a lot more to fall. Look for the Zags to come out and control the pace, and basically everything else from the get-go. Head coach Mark Few will lead his men to victory. Gonzaga wins big here, covering the massive 22-point spread, and I would likely think about betting the over.