Team preview: Texas-Arlington

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Going vertical looks like it won't be an option for this year's Texas-Arlington Mavericks.

So they just plan on going around the opposition.

"We're not the biggest team, so if we're playing a team that's 6-9 across the board, it's hard to play a slow, half-court game," senior guard Jarrett Howell (12.0 ppg, 91 assists, 33 steals) said. "They want to push you around, and we're just going to use our speed and our quickness and play a style that suits us. That fits our team.

"We have to put defensive pressure on the point guard and wings and make them make decisions they aren't used to. If we put 94 feet of pressure on every team that comes in, they'll be worn out with 10 minutes to go. Then we take advantage."

Yes, this squad is anything but a group of long, tall Texans. As was the case for much of last year, the Mavericks can expect to go in almost every game at a relative size disadvantage. Senior Steven Thomas (17.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg), who checks in at 6-5, is probably the best power forward in the Southland Conference -- but he often faces the opposition's 6-8 and 6-9 starters at that position. And Howell, just 5-11, combines with 5-11 senior Brady Dawkins (6.4 ppg, 111 assists) to form one of the shorter guard combos in the league.

In fact, the Mavericks' lack of height has Eddie McCarter, the longest tenured coach in the Southland Conference, thinking about doing something he hasn't done in his previous 13 years at the school.