There is still hope for UTSA men’s basketball


Julia Maenius

Jhivvan Jackson drives to the basket around the Middle Tennessee defenders. The ‘Runners lost back-to-back games at home.

Dalton Hartmann, Staff Writer

The UTSA Roadrunners men’s basketball team (10-13, C-USA 4-6) is currently ranking ninth out of 14 teams, but their record does not reflect the talent of this roster. The ‘Runners started off the year poorly with five consecutive losses and an average point difference of 17.4 points per game (PPG). Since then, out of their other eight losses, they have lost by 10 or less in six of those games. The ‘Runners are slowly beginning to gel more as they come closer to play-ins for the NCAA March Madness bracket and could make the tournament.

The ‘Runners have a strong offensive presence with Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace being two of the top three players with the highest average points per game in Conference USA (C-USA). Jackson is averaging 26.3 PPG which is leading C-USA, and Wallace is third is averaging 18.5 PPG. These outstanding players, along with the rest of the ‘Runners’ roster has made them the second highest scoring offense in C-USA. The ‘Runners also have a huge presence when it comes to offensive rebounding with Byron Frohnen averaging the sixth highest rebounds in C-USA. While the ‘Runners have the second highest offensive rebounding, they also have the twelfth lowest rebounding defense. Along with other factors, their low rebounding defense makes them the lowest scoring defense in C-USA. The ‘Runners have been looking better on defense, but it has not been enough to stop them from losing close games. If the ‘Runners can fix their defense, they can go far in the post season playoffs. If they cannot, they might not make it at all.

The ‘Runners have four more games until the beginning of the C-USA Bonus Play begins, three of which are in conference games, and are looking to make it into the top eight before the C-USA Championship begins. The ‘Runners are playing the Old Dominion University Monarchs (9-14, C-USA 5-5) on Feb. 6, who are tied for the eighth seed, the University of Charlotte 49ers (12-9, C-USA 6-4) on Feb. 8, who are tied for the fourth seed and the Marshall University Thundering Herd (10- 13, C-USA 4-6) on Feb. 13, who are tied with the ‘Runners for the ninth seed. If the ‘Runners win all three of these conference games, they could make it into the play-ins at as high as a fourth seed, depending on the other games in the conference.

While the ‘Runners have their success on the court the school spirit does not seem to be with the men’s basketball games, averaging 1,277 people per home game, making them the twelfth team with lowest average attended games in the conference. This attendance is abysmal for such a talented team. As they play their final games this season, the ‘Runners need their fans to cheer them on. If you have not been to a men’s basketball game this season, you should try to see their last couple of home games against Marshall on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. and Western Kentucky on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.