Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/15/12
ARLINGTON, Texas It's been almost 25 years since a current member of the Big 12 Conference founds its way to a basketball court on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. Oklahoma State ventured to Texas Hall on Dec. 3, 1987, and was knocked off by the Mavericks 69-58. UTA is hoping for similar results Friday night when the Mavericks host Oklahoma at 7 p.m. at College Park Center in what's arguably the biggest-game ever at the downtown Arlington school. "It's important to win with OU here," said UTA head coach Scott Cross. "That's my expectation is to win the basketball game. The days of just showing up and trying to draw a paycheck and being somebody's whipping boy are over. We have to take that next step." Taking the next step would be huge for UTA, which is off to a 1-0 start. There will certainly be plenty of people watching. UTA's basketball complex opened towards the end of last season and the Mavericks drew well against the likes of Texas-San Antonio. But getting a school like OU to come to UTA is a huge get for the Mavericks, and it wasn't easy. Cross said the school has tried to get Big 12 schools and other state schools to travel to Arlington to play for years. But playing on a stage like Texas Hall wasn't appealing. Nor was the possibility of losing a game to the Mavericks. Oklahoma, which will host UTA next season, didn't see it that way when UTA approached it. The Sooners saw the game as a chance to play in front of a large Metroplex-based fan base, show off for recruits and give their three Texans a chance to play in front of family. Getting Oklahoma to come to Arlington is one thing. Beating the Sooners is another. UTA is 5-62 overall against Big 12 schools including 0-26 since its 1987 victory. UTA has three wins against TCU and one against Baylor. Beating the Sooners (1-0) would be big for UTA. It's a homecoming game and there are already more than 5,800 tickets sold for the game. If the Mavericks beat OU, it might not help future scheduling. Teams may not want to take a chance to come play the Mavericks if they feel like they're going to lose the game. But UTA is also building its basketball pedigree, coming off a trip to the NIT last year. "You win this game and it's easier to put people in the stands," said Cross, whose team has two road games against Big 12 teams still on the schedule this year (Texas, Oklahoma State). "It's kind of a give and take. I kind of think the benefits of winning the game far outweigh if you don't win the game." Cross said the feeling around campus right now he's never experienced. He played at UTA in the mid-1990s and there was never a buzz for one game like this. He's taken UTA to the NCAA Tournament and the NIT and won a conference title last year. Even when College Park Center opened last year, the feeling wasn't the same. All the tickets for the home games were free. That's not the case for Friday's game. "It's great for the students and the community," Cross said. "We'd like to be able to generate revenue through basketball. This is a steppingstone for that. That's kind of how I envision the program as one day being the big school that buys other schools and has home games. With this facility, that's what you want. It's a huge thing to be able to have home games. If you put people in the stands, it lets you have home games." Cross is far from the only person on the UTA campus feeling good about Friday's games. It means a lot to the UTA players too. Last year the Mavericks played in the Southland Conference against the likes of Lamar and McNeese State. This year UTA has stepped up its conference in the West Athletic Conference. But even in the WAC, playing teams like Denver and Idaho isn't guaranteed to generate excitement. That's not the case when it's OU coming to town. "It's big, especially we normally have to go to schools like on the road," said senior forward Kevin Butler, who started his career at TCU. "When I first got here this never could have happened because we were playing on a stage. Everyone knows OU. It's cool because our students know OU and they get to come watch them play at our place. This is one of the biggest games of my college career. It's cool to be part of something this big."
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne


USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

USMNT are big favorites against Canada

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

‘Actor’ Todd Gurley wants to make ‘billions’

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

David Price donates $300K to build field for special needs kids

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Johnny Manziel dropped by agent

Michael Irvin: Cowboys should save Manziel

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

Could the Marlins contend in 2016?

Report: Browns to cut Manziel in March

Browns rip Manziel in statement

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker