The Buckeyes lost a pretty key ingredient to their team this week heading into their matchup with UTPA. Let’s take a look.
|School:||University of Texas Pan American|
|Division:||NCAA DIV I|
|Conference:||Great West Conference|
|Head Coach:||Mike Ryans|
Texas PA is not a very good team overall. Through eight games, the Broncs (yes, that’s correct) have won two. Their first came against Texas State in a close battle, and their second against non-division 1 foe Victory University. Of particular note is the early season battle against Northwestern, their toughest opponent to date, that ended in a 60-36 defeat for the Broncs. It has clearly been tough sledding for Texas PA this year.
Historically Texas Pan American is known for their 1963 NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship, a 73-62 victory over Western Carolina. UTPA joined division 1 during the 70′s, eventually making their first appearance in the Division 1 postseason during the 1981 NIT. As far as I can tell, UTPA has never made the NCAA Tournament and continues to toil in relative obscurity in the Great West Conference.
Leading the way for the Broncs is senior guard Jared Maree (6-3, 200). Maree may not be the top scorer on the team but he is the top shooter. Jared has taken the lion’s share of the shots for this team and hit 47.2% of them from the field. While his three point shooting leaves much to be desired, Maree will attack the basket and dish the ball to his teammates like any experienced division 1 player. Also notable are his rebounding numbers which included 8 against Northwestern, usually a very sound rebounding team.
Junior guard Brandon Provost (6-3, 189) is another name to keep your eyes on. He is the top scorer on the team, and makes it count from beyond the arc with a 47.4% shooting average. He’s a far more consistent player than Maree and tends to play a few more minutes per game because of it. Surprisingly, Provost did not play in the Broncs last game against South Carolina-Upstate. The reason for that is not clear, so it’s hard to say if Provost will make it into the game against the Buckeyes.
|Lenzelle Smith Jr.||7||21.6||5.4||4.9||2.7||1.7||0||0.9||0.6||0.278||0.429|
You may notice that Jared Sullinger is not present among the list of starters. Sullinger began suffering back spasms against Duke on Tuesday and is being asked to sit tomorrow. There will be further evaluation on his condition during the Buckeye’s off week after this game. Hopefully he’ll be able to return for the Kansas game on the 10th, but there is as yet no indication either way.
Replacing Sullinger will most likely be Evan Ravenel. Ravenel has played the most minutes of the bench players at the five position and is the most likely to perform on defense to Matta’s preferred level. It shouldn’t be too surprising that we’ll probably also see more of JD Weatherspoon and Amir Williams this week against UTPA, but don’t be surprised if Sullinger is out for a longer stretch of time that these guys get a few more minutes against some bigger-name teams.
The Buckeyes will face off with Texas Pan American at Noon on Saturday, December 3rd in Value City Arena. You’ll be able to see that game on the Big Ten Network.com.