It's early August, and we're only one month away from the kickoff of football season. The newswire around Miner Nation is starting to buzz, and it will only get better from here. Here is a mini dig to keep you all updated on the most recent things happening around Miner athletics.
2011 DiamondHead Classic Bracket Released:
The DiamondHead Classic Tournament takes place in Honolulu, HI, December 22nd-25th. The top half of the bracket has UTEP opening up against Clemson, and Kansas St versus Southern Illinois. The bottom half pits Xavier against Long Beach State, and host school Hawaii against Auburn.
Xavier comes in as the outright favorite to win the tournament. They will likely be a solid top 25 team, and they have probably the easiest road to the finals. Clemson will likely be the favorite to make the finals from the top half of the bracket, but really all of those four teams have a shot.
The Miners definitely have a tough draw as they open against Clemson, and then would have to play the winner of Southern Illinois versus Kansas St. No matter what happens for the Miners they should at least be able to get in 2 games versus good quality opponents heading into conference play. UTEP will open up at 1:00 p.m. local time, Thursday the 22nd on ESPNU.
Former Miner Jeremy Williams Signs with French Team:
Former UTEP forward Jeremy Williams has signed a contract to play professional basketball in France. Williams signed with UJAP Quimper of the France Professional Basketball League. The teams competes in the Pro B second division. Williams contract is worth a reported $45,000 for nine months of work, and he is expected to report by August 10th.
UTEP Football Poster Voted Best in Country by Bleacher Report:
Bleacherreport.com has completed their annual rankings of college football schedule posters. This year our UTEP football poster was ranked number one in the nation. There were six criteria in the ranking of the posters including the following: 1. clarity, 2.schedule, 3. photo quality, 4. uniqueness/creativity, 5. eye appeal, and 6. "coolness factor". Also of note, NMSU came in 3rd.
UTEP Released Men's Non-Conference Basketball Schedule
The 2011 basketball season will open up with two exhibition games November 3rd and 5th against Eastern New Mexico, and Sul Ross State, and the regular season opener will be November 11th against NCAA tournament team UTSA. Road trips to Oregon and UNLV on November 30th and December 14th highlight the schedule, along with the DiamondHead Classic, and the usual home and home against NMSU on November 19th and December 11th. Conference matchups are yet to be released.
This schedule wouldn't normally be an extremely tough one, but considering the amount of players we lost, and thus the amount of new players coming in, we will certainly have our hands full. The Miners definitely have the talent and coaching to be good, but its still a matter of putting it all together. We should be very competitive throughout the season, but we'll have to wait and see exactly how our youth fares in many of these tough games.