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Broncs face tall task in bout with Buckeyes

The Texas-Pan American Broncs have the ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena in Columbus today.

The Broncs are 2-6 on the season, with both of their wins coming at home. They are 0-4 on the road and have lost two in a row and three of their last four since posting their first win of the campaign versus Texas State (79-77) on November 19. UTPA's most recent outing resulted in a 92-60 beat down at the hands of the UT-Arlington Mavericks on Monday night.

Ohio State's Thad Matta takes aim at his 300th career win today, as he comes in sporting a 299-88 record in 12 years as a head coach. He is 197-57 in eight seasons in Columbus. The Buckeyes, who are playing the finale of an eight-game homestand to open the season this afternoon, are 7-0 and have won 29 consecutive home games, dating back to February of 2010. Furthermore, OSU is an eye-popping 44-1 at Value City Arena since the start of the 2009-10 season. The Buckeyes played host to ACC power Duke on Tuesday, and blasted the Blue Devils in an 85-63 final.

This bout marks the first-ever meeting between Texas-Pan American and Ohio State on the hardwood.

UTPA allows 10.4 ppg more than it scores on average, and the team is shooting just 41.6 percent from the field. The Broncs, who are guilty of more than 17 turnovers per outing, have just two players averaging double digits in scoring at the moment, as Brandon Provost leads the way with 15.3 ppg. A 47.4 percent shooter from beyond the arc and 85.4 percent accurate from the charity stripe, Provost also comes up with 4.7 rpg and he leads the team as well with six blocked shots. Jared Maree nets 13.6 ppg on the strength of his 47.2 percent shooting effort. Defensively, UTPA is allowing 74.5 ppg on typical shooting outputs of 46.2 percent overall, but just 30.7 percent from three-point land. Ruben Cabrera and Aaron Urbanus scored 14 points apiece, and Kiondre Arkwright chipped in 11 points for the Broncs in their blowout loss to UT-Arlington, as the team shot just 34.9 percent from the field, missed 16 of its 23 three- point tries and committed 17 turnovers. Conversely, the Mavericks nailed 54.2 percent of their total shots, claimed a 42-32 rebounding advantage and logged a 21-9 edge in points from the foul line.

Boasting arguably the best player in all of college basketball, Ohio State has had a relatively easy time of it through the first seven games, despite facing a pair of ranked opponents during that span. Jared Sullinger is enjoying a sensational sophomore season, averaging 19.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 62.2 percent from the floor and 83.3 from the foul line. Not to be outdone, William Buford is also off to a hot start, netting 18.0 ppg to go with 4.3 rpg and more than three assists per outing. In fact, it's been Buford who has really shined in the Buckeyes' two wins over Florida and Duke, averaging 20.5 ppg. Deshaun Thomas (13.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Aaron Craft (10.3 ppg, 5.9 apg, 3.1 spg) have also produced for Matta's club, which has played terrific defense in allowing just 55.9 ppg on 38.9 percent field goal shooting, which includes a 31.4 percent showing from three-point range. OSU is also +8.9 in rebounding, and +8.1 in turnover margin. Sullinger scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Buford tallied 20 points and five boards in Ohio State's 22-point win over Duke. Thomas contributed 18 points and five caroms, while Craft hit 3-of-4 three-point attempts on his way to 17 points. He added eight assists and five rebounds to his impressive stat line.