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Three things to watch as IU men's basketball returns home to play the University of Texas at Arlington


Freshman guard Rob Phinisee dribbles the ball in front of a Marquette University player Nov. 14 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.  Ty Vinson

For the first time this season, fans will get a look at how the IU men's basketball team responds to losing a game.

IU dropped a controversial, heartbreaking game to Arkansas on Sunday afternoon, losing 73-72 on the road.

Before a huge road matchup at No. 1 Duke next week, IU will have a pair of nonconference home games this week against lesser teams, the University of Texas at Arlington on Tuesday night and the University of California at Davis on Friday night.

The first game between the Hoosiers and Mavericks begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Here are three things to watch for in the game.

1. Texas-Arlington will come to Bloomington looking to win the game.

Yes, it's an elementary concept that both teams in a sporting event will try to win, but that's not always the case in college basketball.

Games earlier this season for IU against Chicago State and Montana State were such clear discrepancies in talent level that there was really no chance for IU's opponents to win. Texas-Arlington will pose a better challenge for IU out of the Sun Belt Conference.

The Mavericks moved to the Sun Belt for the 2013-14 season and enjoyed a nice run of success under former Coach Scott Cross, who is now an assistant at Texas Christian University.

In the last three years, notable wins for the Texas-Arlington program include triumphs at Ohio State, Memphis, Texas, Oklahoma and Saint Mary's College of California. The win against Saint Mary's in December 2016 was the first win over a top-25 ranked opponent for Texas-Arlington, as Saint Mary's was then ranked No. 12 in the country and that Saint Mary's team featured current IU senior forward Evan Fitzner on its roster.

Chris Ogden is the new coach of Texas-Arlington, and his team is off to a 3-1 start this season, including a win against UC-Davis.

An Indiana native is the Mavericks' leading scorer, as junior guard Brian Warren averages 18.5 points per game during an average of 30 minutes of game action.

Warren went to T.C. Howe High School in Indianapolis. 

2. Expect Romeo Langford to continue his high-scoring play against the Mavericks.

The first in what is expected to be a long list of accolades this season for freshman guard Romeo Langford arrived Monday afternoon.

Langford was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week for his performances against Marquette and Arkansas. In those two games, he averaged 22 points, seven-and-a-half rebounds, three-and-a-half assists, two steals and one-and-a-half blocked shots.

Freshman guard Romeo Langford goes to score against Marquette University on Nov. 14 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Langford scored 22 out of the 96 total points scored by IU.  Ty Vinson

The Arkansas game also featured Langford's first collegiate double-double as he recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds.

More of the same should be expected Tuesday night.

Texas-Arlington has allowed just one player, guard Myles Smith of Texas A&M Corpus Christi, to score more than 20 points in a game this season, but that was also in its only loss of the season.

The Mavericks have also allowed opponents to make 42.65 percent of their shots this season, so if Langford can both establish his inside drives to the basket and his pull-up jumpers early in the contest, he could dictate the offensive flow of the game for IU.

3. Don't expect IU's injured players to return for either Tuesday's or Friday's game.

IU had to play without the services of four important players in the win against Marquette and the loss to Arkansas, and that won't change this week.

On his radio show Monday night, Miller confirmed the lack of availability for freshman forwards Jerome Hunter and Race Thompson, as well as junior guard Devonte Green and senior guard Zach McRoberts.

Hunter is still being monitored in Cleveland after he had leg surgery last week and has yet to rejoin the team. Miller said a definitive timeframe for his return does not yet exist.

Thompson still has concussion-like symptoms from a collision he had in practice prior to the Marquette game, while a thigh injury and a back strain continue to sideline Green and McRoberts.

Miller said he was optimistic for Green and McRoberts to be active in practice this week, possibly setting up a return for both players at No. 1 Duke next Tuesday night.

As a 24-point home favorite against Texas-Arlington, there's no excuse for IU to slip up at home, even without these four players. As such, expect the Hoosiers' depth to once again be on display with players like freshmen forward Damezi Anderson and guard Rob Phinisee playing significant minutes.

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