To go from being the only team in college basketball with a theatrical stage as its home court to having a multi-million dollar basketball arena is a pretty big leap, but UT Arlington men's coach Scott Cross didn't expect it to take his Mavericks this long to make it their home.On Wednesday, Cross penned an open letter to UTA fans urging them to show up for the final six home games of the season. When the Mavericks tip off with Texas State at 7 tonight at College Park Center, Cross hopes the turnout is enough to revitalize a UTA team that has struggled at home this season.After the Mavericks lost their fifth consecutive home game last month, Cross admitted that he probably wouldn't mind if UTA played the rest of its schedule on the road. It defied logic, but that pretty much defines his team. The Mavericks are 8-3 on the road, but only 2-6 at home."We need the electricity in the building. We need the students to come out because they energize our guys," he wrote. "It's imperative that we continue to make College Park Center a true home-court advantage."In the letter, Cross talks about hopes of turning UTA into the next Gonzaga, George Mason or Butler. The former player reminded himself of "the dark days when [UTA] played on stage, but not in December because the Nutcracker had priority over basketball" and how school President James Spaniolo brought the shiny, new College Park Center to UTA last year.Although the arena has a capacity of 6,750, the Mavericks are drawing only 1,894 per game. They opened strong by filling the house with 6,421 fans against Oklahoma, but haven't drawn more than 1,600 in any of the other seven games."It is time to take the game-day atmosphere to another level here at College Park Center," he wrote. "That is only going to happen if the city of Arlington, along with the UT Arlington students, comes out in full force to support our basketball team."Cross thinks the latest three-game road trip helped UTA refocus on what has made it a Western Athletic Conference contender.UTA's 37.1 defensive field-goal percentage is the eighth-best mark in the nation and the best in the WAC.
Texas State at UTA
7 tonight, College Park Center
Radio: KKDA/730 AM
Records: UTA 10-9, 5-5 WAC; Texas State 7-16, 3-8