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Friday, September 13, 2013
Updated: October 9, 9:56 AM ET
Preview: Texas-Arlington

By Nic Reiner
ESPN Insider

2013-14 Sun Belt Projected Standings

1. Georgia State | 2. South Alabama | 3. Western Kentucky | 4. Louisiana-Lafayette | 5. Arkansas State | 6. Arkansas-Little Rock | 7. Texas-Arlington | 8. Texas State | 9. Troy | 10. Louisiana-Monroe
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Texas-Arlington Mavericks

2012-13: 19-14 (11-7 WAC)
In-conference offense: 0.98 points per possession (6th, WAC)
In-conference defense: 0.96 points allowed per possession (3rd, WAC)

Two starters return for UTA in seniors Shaquille White-Miller and Brandon Edwards. The 5-foot-9 White-Miller will run the point. He assisted on more than 30 percent of his teammates' field goals but will have to improve his shooting (29 percent from 2, 28 percent from 3 last season). The 6-6 Edwards is easily head coach Scott Cross' most efficient returner, though he'll likely use the ball less than 20 percent of the time. High defensive rebounding and block percentages make Edwards a valuable asset on the defensive end, as well.

Projected starting lineup

Pos. Name Year
F
Brandon Edwards
Sr.
F
Greg Gainey
Sr.
F
Drew Charles
Soph.
G
Jamel Outler
Jr.
G
Shaquille White-Miller
Sr.

Junior guard Jamel Outler returns, and he used the biggest share of the offense, attempting 28 percent of his team's shots when he was on the floor. Outler was not particularly efficient, however, and could stand to improve his shooting from both inside and beyond the arc. Senior forward Greg Gainey posted a 104 offensive rating with a usage rate above 20 percent, and thus will likely be called upon to increase offensive production with more playing time. Guard Drew Charles earned minutes in his first season, but his effectiveness was limited by a high turnover rate and mediocre shooting. Junior guard Reger Dowell is an Oklahoma State transfer who will be eligible and could see his role increase as the season goes on.

Seven-footer Stuart Lagerson will be coming off a redshirt season and is expected to be the Mavericks' most imposing inside presence, though he played just seven minutes a game in 2011-12. Finally, junior college transfer guard Lonnie McClanahan will likely be one of the best Mavericks at getting to the free throw line.

UT Arlington has had five winning seasons in the seven that Cross has been at the helm, and the past two seasons in particular were excellent. However, the Mavericks will enter the Sun Belt having lost significant pieces from the team that went to two straight postseason tournaments. UTA probably won't reach the postseason for a third consecutive season. Instead, a bottom-five finish in the Mavericks' new league is the most likely outcome.

Projected 2013-14 conference finish: 7th