The Dig: The UTEP Miners Continue to Own New Mexico State Edition

In The Dig:  Does your food taste better today than it did yesterday?  Does the air smell cleaner and more fresh?  UTEP Football beat UNM and NMSU.  Now, the Miner basketball team has swept the Aggies.  Will 2010 be remembered as the year El Paso became the Capital of New Mexico?  All is right with the world.

The Battle of 1-10 Revisited

On Fire:  Randy Culpepper was killing it in the first half.  ESPN has the story:

Culpepper scored 14 straight and 16 of UTEP's final 20 points of the first half for a 40-35 lead. He went 8 of 12 in the first half; the rest of the team was 7 of 12.

A Rare Good Point From Joe:  As discussed in the celebration thread, Julyan Stone was perhaps UTEP's best player last night.  How insane is it that our 6'7 point guard played good defense on NMSU's best post player Troy Gillenwater?

But the glue that made the Miners a team Tuesday was Stone. The big point-guard had 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 points and only 1 turnover. Stone is headed for the NBA after this season. He's not a good shooter now, but recall point guard Tim Hardaway wasn't a good college shooter, either.

Great Britten:  The Times Milan Simonich thinks last night was Claude Brittens best as a Miner.  Claude played well, but down the stretch last season when Derrick Caracter was constantly in foul trouble we saw how polished Claude can be offensively and how dominant he can be on defense.  He's capable of more than we saw last night.

Britten had the best overall night of his career, scoring 13, pulling down seven rebounds and blocking two shots in 21 minutes. He said the game was physical, and the three technicals called on players confirmed it.

Making the Mosf of his Minutes:  Christian Polk's minutes were severely limited last night due to foul trouble.  He had three personal fouls in two minutes of action in the first half.  Bill Knight notes that Polk still managed to have a nice impact on the game down the stretch.

No worries. Polk came in midway through the final half and was money. He hit a pivotal 3-pointer -- the Miners' only 3-pointer of the second half, made a key pair of free throws in the final minute and finished with nine points.

Fool's Gold:  Tim Floyd didn't want UTEP to depend on the three ball in the second half.  Nice move, Coach.

"We knew we had worn it (the three-point line) out in the first half," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "That's fool's gold. We didn't want it to be like the Pacific and Georgia Tech games (the only two losses; both on lost first-half leads). Our focus was to go to Claude down in the paint early, get some high percentage shots."

Picture Show:  The excellent BleedCrimson.net has a photo gallery from last nights game.

Julyan Love:  Check out this article in Hoops World on Julyan Stone and how he ended up playing point guard.  Nice work here.

Ballin is a Habit:  Check out this article on UTEP hoops from a BIAH blogger who went to the Legends Classic.  He warns Memphis not to sleep on Tim Floyd's bunch.

 

Bowl- A- Rama

New Mexico Back In?  Yesterday, Bob Stull said that the New Mexico bowl "was out" for UTEP.  That didn't stop Bret Bloomquist from pondering what it would take for UTEP to get to Albuquerque.  Nice read here by Double B- liked the quotes from the players on where they want to go.  Pierce Hunter wants to go to the Hawaii Bowl- smart young man.

The New Mexico Bowl pays $750,000 and Stull has indicated in the past that's where UTEP would love to be. New Mexico Bowl executive director Jeff Siembieda did not immediately return phone calls. Another consideration is that both the New Orleans Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl are on Dec. 18, the same day the UTEP men's basketball team faces off with Texas Tech at home.

Think Happy Thoughts:  Donald Buckram expects to be fully healthy for UTEP's bowl game whoever they play.  We all wish Donald the best and hope he is, but if he's not the coaches have to continue to lean on the Joseph Banyard and Leilyon Myers who are both playing good football.

Weekend at Bernie's:  The EPT is hosting a live chat next Monday with the Sun Bowl's Executive Director Bernie Olivas. 

Speaking of the Sun:  Miami's new interim head coach Jeff Stoutland fully expects the Hurricane to come to El Pasofor the Sun.  Guess what- if Miami comes to the Sun they might play Toledo.  If they go to the Kraft Fight Hunger they play Boise State.  It's in Miami's interest to come to El Paso instead of being obliterated by the WAC Runner-Up on national television.

Two Gone:  Two C-USA teams have already accepted bowl bids.  ECU is off to the Military Bowl and USM is off to the Beef O'Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg.

 

Random But Noteworthy

Not Ready for Primetime:  Memphis area writers are not happy that TCU jumped over Memphis in the Big East's pecking order.  Geoff Calkins has a nice article up detailing how lousy Memphis is when it comes to administrative leadership.  If you hate Memphis, you'll like reading this.

Pardoned:  Neil Callaway will return as UAB' s head football coach next season but he did have to sacrifice his defensive coordinator Eric Schumann to appease some angry fans.  He received a one year extension through the 2012 season.

Mountain WAC Conference:  Pre Snap Reads Paul Myerberg notes that the MWC is essentially the old WAC with slightly more depth.  He notes that Boise will own this league like they own the WAC now.

Case Keenum in the NFL?  I don't see it, even before his ACL injury, but Mocking the Draft is taking a look at Keenum's viability as an NFL signal caller.

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