GAME NOTES: The Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners get their first taste of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Tuesday night, as the team tangles with the San Jose State Spartans during the 30th annual event at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
UTSA, which is the ninth-seed in the tourney, made the switch from the Southland Conference to the WAC for this year so this is all new territory for the program. For the most part, wins have come few and far between for the Roadrunners here in 2012-13, although the team did recently piece together a three-game win streak.
The Roadrunners actually had better results on the road (2-6) against conference foes than they did at home (1-8) this season, so perhaps a change of scenery will do them some good.
As for the eighth-seeded Spartans, a team which has a record of only 4-15 in this tournament over the years and has never come close to bringing home the trophy, they've been an afterthought in the WAC this season as they closed with a 13-game slide, although the run of ineptitude could have been even longer if not for the fact that their March 7 date at home against this same UTSA squad had to be canceled due to a leaky roof at The Event Center.
With the cancellation of that one contest, it means these teams met only once during the regular season back on New Year's Eve, with the Spartans posting an 80-67 victory, which means the all-time series now stands at 2-1 in favor of SJSU.
The survivor of this contest will be back in action on Thursday night to do battle with the top-seeded Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the quarterfinals.
The Roadrunners used to be a major factor in the Southland, but they've won just four times since a few days before Christmas and yet they are probably the favorite to take care of business against the slumping Spartans. With a trio of tough, offensive-minded performers in Kannon Burrage (17.1 ppg), Michael Hale III (16.1 ppg, 102 assists) and Jeromie Hill (12.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg), the Roadrunners have just enough fire power to get them through, at least to action on Wednesday night where they would be taking on top-seeded LaTech.
The trouble with the Spartans, as if there is only one issue plaguing the program, is that they've been operating for months now without leading scorer James Kinney (20.6 ppg), who appeared in just half the team's games before being suspended. Without their leading scorer, the Spartans put all the pressure on Chris Cunningham (10.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg) to keep them alive and it simply didn't happen. San Jose State averaged a mere 57.7 ppg in conference play this season, a number which still included a handful of games played by Kinney before he made his exit.
Needless to say, with a 13-game slide to close out the regular season, there is little reason to believe SJSU will be any more than a disappointing one- and-done in this event.
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