UT Arlington officials say North Texas’ intentions to resume men’s basketball series is news to them

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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North Texas has bought out the final year of its men’s basketball contract with UT Arlington, ending, at least temporarily, the annual meeting between regional rivals, UTA officials said Wednesday.

North Texas coach Tony Benford said Wednesday the nuances of scheduling required that the school ask for a postponement of the series, though he plans to resume it after a year off.

That’s a distinction that wasn’t clear to UTA officials.

North Texas’ nonconference schedule includes games at Oklahoma, as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, and Texas A&M. Those games guarantee North Texas a certain financial payout, which allows the Mean Green to pay for their own “guarantee” home games.

With UTA on the schedule as a road game at the College Park Center, North Texas would play more road nonconference games than home. Benford wants to add a home game.

“I just need to move the game to next year,” said Benford, whose Mean Green team finished 12-20 in his first season at the helm.

That was news to the UTA athletic department.

A UTA official said North Texas gave “no indication” that it planned to resume the series between the two former Southland Conference foes, a contest that generally represented the best attended nonconference home game for both.

North Texas holds a 30-23 lead in the series, which first started with a Mean Green victory in 1974 and continued until North Texas left for the Sun Belt Conference in 1996.

The schools resumed the game as a nonconference contest in 2006.

UTA athletic director Jim Baker was unavailable, a spokesman said.

While the Mean Green and NBA prospect Tony Mitchell struggled in Benford’s first season, the Mavericks, 19-13 in 2012-13, fell just short of an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, losing in overtime to New Mexico State in the WAC championship game.

The Mavericks have had the edge over North Texas in recent games, winning five of the past seven, including a 72-59 victory in November in Denton and a 97-64 blowout at Texas Hall in 2011.

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