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The UTEP Miners and The Michigan Wolverines Men's Basketball Teams Play In The Legends Classic Basketball Tournament
Championship Rounds: 3rd Place Game At 3:30 PM
Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City, New Jersey
The Miners beat Mercer 87-74 and Western Carolina 77-65 in Regional Games played in El Paso. The Miners lost their semi-final round game to Georgia Tech, 61-71.
The Michigan Wolverines beat Bowling Green 69-50, and Gardner-Webb 80-58, before losing to Syracuse 50-53 in their semi-final round game.
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Here's Who Is Involved and How They Got Here
The UTEP Miners (3-2)
The UTEP Miners were tripped up in their season opener against the University of Pacific 61-66 in front of the first home opener sell out crowd since 1986.
The Miners got back on track, with their first win of the season, and the first win under Head Coach Tim Floyd, when the Miners beat Mercer in their first Legends Classic Tournament game, 87-74.
The Miners second game of the Legends Classic Tournament pitted UTEP against the Catamounts of Western Carolina. The Miners used a tough, stingy defense, a patient offense, and free throws to cruise past the Catamounts, 77-65.
The Miners used a barrage of three point shots in the first half, and 17 made free throws, combined with tough man-to-man defense to take the first round of the annual I-10 Rivalry game against the Aggies of New Mexico State, 73-56 at The Don Haskins Center, in El Paso.
The Miners held a 6 point lead at the half on 53.8% shooting from the field, but couldn't get their shots to fall in the second half. Their shooting cooled to just 35.7%, and along with terrible shooting from the free throw line, 8-17, the Miners fell to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 71-61.
The Michigan Wolverines (3-1)
The Wolverines had no trouble with South Carolina Upstate in the season opener, beating the Spartans 66-35.
In the Wolverines' first Legends Classic game, Michigan knocked off Bowling Green 69-50. The Wolverines shot 48% from the floor and 47 % from beyond the 3 point line. Michigan held Bowling Green scoreless for 7:29 to begin the second half.
In the Wolverines second Legends Classic Game the Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb fell victims to the Wolverines, 80-58. The Wolverines shot 52.4% from the field and out rebounded the Runnin' Bulldogs 45-23.
Michigan pushed #9 Syracuse to the limit but came up short in their semi-final game of the Legends Classic, 50-53. Using a patient offense to attack the Orange's zone defense, the Wolverines held a 31-29 lead at the end of the first half. The two teams battled for the last 20 minutes of the game, and with just 21 seconds left Michigan was within striking distance at 48-51.
Key Players For Each Team Are
|The Miners The Wolverines
Randy Culpepper 17.8 ppg Tim Hardaway Jr.* 12.8 ppg
Christian Polk 14.4 ppg Darius Morris 12.5 ppg
Jeremy Williams 11.6 ppg 5.6 rpg Jordan Morgan 11.8 ppg 7.5 rpg
Julyan Stone 10 ppg 7.8 rpg Stu Douglas 8.5 ppg
Claude Britten 7.4 ppg Evan Smotrycz 7.5 ppg 4.3 rpg
These Teams History Together
UTEP is 1-3 against Michigan. The last time the Miners faced Michigan was in a 2006 NIT loss.
How It Will Turn Out
Once again, the two teams will look to their defenses to be the key to their win. The Miners couldn't hit their shots in the second half of the GA Tech game, and were horrible at the free throw line. If that happens today, the Miners will lose again, convincingly. If the Miners can find the center of the hoop, this should be a knock down, drag out, toughly contested game.
Predicted Score: UTEP 61 Michigan 58