The UT Arlington men’s team hosts its first Bracketbusters game at 5 p.m. Saturday when UC Irvine makes its first visit to College Park Center.Both teams are peaking with less than three weeks to go in the regular season. UTA has won five straight games while the Anteaters have won five of their last seven, including Wednesday’s 68-59 win over Pacific, when they hit their last six 3-pointers to bury the Tigers.UTA is paced by Kevin Butler, who’s emerged over the last five games as the shooter the Mavericks have been looking for all season. He’s scoring 17.8 points per game in that span and he’s closing his collegiate career out on a high note. He’s finally provided the offensive spark that the defensive-minded Mavericks needed to get on a roll.Guided by athletic guard play and a textbook Scott Cross mindset, the Mavericks have held teams to a 36.7 percent field-goal percentage. Cross said he expects more of the same against the Anteaters — hold them under 40 percent.“We have a pretty consistent style where we’re picking them up, doing our 2-2-1, back to switching to man-to-man,” he said. “Playing with speed and transition.”Butler’s offensive improvement has opened up easier shots for the rest of the Mavericks, who shot 45 percent against UT Pan American on Wednesday. Jordan Reves has benefited from his emergence, reviving his season with 9.4 points and 9.8 rebounds during the streak.Daman Starring is the Anteaters’ primary scorer, averaging 13.6 points per game.
UTA vs. UC Irvine
5 p.m. Saturday , College Park Center
Records: UTA 15-9, UC Irvine 15-13
Radio: KKDA/730 AM