Chicago State plays Texas-Pan American tonight in another Great West Conference game. One of the most thorough Great West writers around is Peter Rasmussen, who covers the Broncs for The Monitor. You can also follow him on Twitter. He took the time to answer five questions about the Broncs before their game against the Cougars.
5 Questions with Peter Rasmussen about UTPA
CCB - Texas-Pan American has been okay at home, but terrible on the road. Is that a case of competition, or do you expect for it to continue in conference play?
Some of the team's road woes have been because of competition. However, the team has not had a breakthrough win and still struggles to put together a full 40 minutes. I expect the road woes to continue, especially since the Broncs play their first five conference games on the road.
The Broncs are a very young team. Only four of the players have extensive Division I experience. I think that plays a role in their road struggles.
CCB - The Broncs haven't beaten a Division I team since a November 13 victory over Eastern Kentucky what's the general feeling of the team?
The team really arrived at conference play confident that their fortunes would change because it will play teams that are similar to it. The Broncs won five games in the conference last season and are looking to improve on that number. The 19-point loss to NJIT on Wednesday, however, was not a promising sign.
The team is on a nine-game losing streak. From what I can gather, that loss to NJIT was an emotional one for the team.
CCB - How much does UTPA love the city of Chicago? They played a multi-team event here at Loyola, Northwestern last season and Chicago State the past two. This trip must feel like old hat for them.
They have to play Chicago State because they are in the same conference. Another reason is that Broncs coach Ryan Marks is from Chicago and has a relationship with some of the area's coaches and is part of the reason the Broncs spend quite a bit of time there.
Marks also recruits heavily in he Midwest. Two of the incoming freshmen next season are from Minnesota. Perry Petty is a Milwaukee native and Matt Mierzycki is from Chicago.
Lastly, the team likes to eat corn beef from Manny's. I'm assuming it's a popular restaurant in Chicago.
CCB - Tell us a little about the Broncs' star Perry Petty, what's his game like?
Petty has been suspended indefinitely by the team for conduct detrimental to the team. It is a big blow because he is the team's leading scorer at 16.6 points per game.
He is quick and the type of player that can take over late in games.
He was suspended after arriving late to two team functions. His return will hinge on how well the teams does without him on and off the court.
The sad thing about Perry's dismissal is that this is his senior season and that he hasn't played a whole lot at the Division I level. He transferred from D-I Santa Clara but had to sit out per NCAA rules. Two years of his eligibility were taken up at the junior college level.
I'm not sure he will return but I'm also not sure how the Broncs will replace his scoring. The team doesn't have a lot of big scorers.
You can read more about Perry's suspension here.
CCB - Is there anyone you've been surprised by or impressed with thus far this season? Who has stood out for you?
Petty has been fun to watch but he is not playing today. Sophomore guard Aaron Urbanus has continued to impress me. He is maybe 5-foot-8 but is always up for the challenge.
With Petty out, Urbanus will probably be looked upon to score more. He is second on the team in scoring at 11.7 points. When this guy is on, he's on. You can't let the size fool you.
It has been somewhat disappointing that no one outside of Petty and Urbanus have been overly impressive.
A big thanks to Peter for taking the time to give us some insight into the Broncs and hopefully the Cougars can come away with another important home win in conference tonight.