The Daily Dig:  2.26.10

TGIFHere are some C-USA links to get you through the afternoon at work!  Let's Take a look around the league from El Paso to Hattiesburg!

UTEP MINERS

More National Love:  USA Today's Eddie Timanus takes a look at UTEP's resurgence.

"We lost back-to-back games to BYU and Houston, and I thought we were in a crisis," says Barbee, who went to a bigger starting lineup with Williams and brought Polk off the bench to change up the offense. "That changed our season." Now UTEP has won 10 or more games in a row for the seventh time in school history. Each of the six previous occasions, the Miners advanced to the NCAA tournament that season.

The Buck Doesn't Stop Here:  Athlon sports ranks UTEP's Donald Buckram as the #3 college fantasy running back in the country next season. 

3. Donald Buckram, UTEP Was last season a one-year flash or is he just warming up? Buckram had five games of less than 15 carries, so there is some upside (or concern?) with his amount of touches. Will the Miners continue to feed him the rock or will the offense lean more on the pass with quarterback Trevor Vittatoe returning?

Liftoff:  Irvin Rocket Miguel Edwards has signed a letter of intent to run track at UTEP next fall.  It's always great to see a local product who excels in athletics stay and compete for the hometown team.  Congratulations Miguel!

Edwards has a career best of 10.62 seconds in the 100 meters and plans to run that, the 200 and the 400 this season. He also hopes to get a shot at running relays for the Miners starting next spring.

 

The AD Works Overtime:  Bob Stull writes guest articles for El Paso, Inc. and so far as I can tell he usually discusses sports that don't get a lot of media attention.  El Paso, Inc. really needs to put a date line on their articles.

RICE OWLS

And Iran So Far Away:  Rice's Arsalan Kazemi is the first Iranian born player to play Division I basketball.  He hopes that some of his fellow countrymen will be given a shot now that he has broken the barrier.

The trailblazing 6-foot-7 freshman knows his performance could affect what opportunities other Iranian players might get in the United States. ``If I play good they're going to go after other players in my country,'' said Kazemi, who leads the Owls in rebounding. ``If I'm not playing good, they're going to say: 'They don't have any basketball if he's the first one. They don't have any other good players.'''

At Least Baseball Season is Here:  Wait. What?  Rice is 0-4 in baseball?

MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD

Ponies or Knights?  Doug Smock of the West Virginia Gazette has updated C-USA projected finishes.  If he's right, the Miners would play the winner of the UCF/SMU 8/9 game in round two.

Again, I’ll give two sets of projections, both picking the Herd to go 2-1 the rest of the way. The losses would be to UTEP or SMU … and I am reminded that the Herd has lost its regular season finale the last *two* years, in rather yucky fashion.

Set Dead Aim:  The Marshall student newspaper, the Parthenon, takes an early look the UTEP game and they think it's gonna be a slug fest.  Right now, I'd have to agree...

Throw out the beatdown Houston laid on Marshall, and the Herd has played tough in all of its losses this season. That includes the close calls at home against the two schools not named UTEP, Memphis and UAB, ahead of the Herd in the standings – not to mention Marshall thumped UAB in Birmingham and took out the same Tulsa team that played Duke tough last night when the Golden Hurricane came to Huntington.

Rejected:  Hassan Whiteside is having a prolific season blocking the ball.  He's tailor-made to stop the penetration that is the key to the dribble-drive weave attack.

Throw out the beatdown Houston laid on Marshall, and the Herd has played tough in all of its losses this season. That includes the close calls at home against the two schools not named UTEP, Memphis and UAB, ahead of the Herd in the standings – not to mention Marshall thumped UAB in Birmingham and took out the same Tulsa team that played Duke tough last night when the Golden Hurricane came to Huntington.

TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE

Sinking Ship:  Tulsa desperately needed a strong showing last night at Duke to give them a boost heading into the C-USA Tourney. They were hoping to provide a huge showcase for Jerome Jordan and Ben Uzoh for NBA scouts.  Things don't always go according to plan.

Jordan scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds but was limited to 24 minutes because of foul trouble.

THE AGGIES

Too Bad Nobody Will See It:  ESPN's Graham Watson has a nice feature on Dewayne Walker's efforts to improve NMSU's defense in the pass-happy WAC.  Can you believe NMSU averaged under 12 points a game on offense last year?

"We don’t want shootouts, we want to be able to play some defense," Walker said. "I’m a defensive coach. I want to be able to establish one of the better defenses in our conference. I know Boise State, they’ve been kingpin as a team and one of the better offenses and defenses in the conference. We want to be able to play some defense in an offensive conference."

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