Posted: 2:41 a.m. Friday, March 15, 2013
By Nicolas Lewis
It's a lot easier to win with balanced scoring like the Roadrunners of UTSA, who have three players that averaged 11 ppg or better over the course of the season. But balanced scoring alone isn;t enough, as evidenced by the fact that The Roadrunners were 4-6 at Christmas and wound up only doubling that win total by season's end.
Their late-season rematch against conference cellar dweller San Jose State didn't even get played, leaving both with only 17 conference games, but the Roadrunners finally got to play out that victory in the tournament's opening round. As they have all season, the trifecta of Jeromie Hill, Kannon Burrage, and Michael Hale III carried them past the Spartans, and that process repeated itself tonight.
It certainly helped UTSA's cause that they succeeded in holding the Bulldogs, who were already a fairly unbalanced offensive team, to only 32% shooting on the night. Louisiana Tech's top five scorers shot a meager 10-of-43 from the field, though that is perhaps a bit deceptive. Unlike the Roadrunners, La. Tech's Raheem Appleby is the only player averaging more than nine points per game (14.5), as eleven Bulldogs play at least 10 minutes per game and eight of them average between four and eight points per night.
UTSA and Texas State will now look to play spoiler in their matchups against New Mexico State and Texas-Arlington. This creates a fun little situation where three of the WAC's four semifinalists in this tournament are teams that are making their first and only appearance in the tournament. UTA, UTSA, and TSU all just joined the conference this season, and will be leaving this summer.