The Dig: Slowly But Surely Edition

Casey Sapio-US PRESSWIRE

The Dig is your source for news and information surrounding UTEP sports, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.

The Mike Price era came to an emotional end Saturday night, as the football team fell to Rice 33-24. With that, the search for a new head man hits high gear, and Miner Nation must move on. Here's what's going on around UTEP sports, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.

AROUND MINER NATION

Men's Basketball Stalling

After a great season opening win over Oral Roberts, the Miners have dropped four straight, and offensively they've come to a screeching halt. Over the last four contests, the team has averaged only 22 points in the first half, and has averaged only 52 points a game. They have also been held under 50 twice.

What may be worse, is that a team that prides itself in defense and rebounding is absolutely getting worked in those areas. During the losing streak, the Miners have been outrebounded 128-75, and they have allowed teams to shoot a blistering hot 51% from 3 point range.

To put things into perspective, the Vanderbilt Commodores were a team that were only able to muster 33 points against Marist on Friday, yet they exploded for well more than double that against the Miners.

Coach Tim Floyd said after Sunday's loss:

"This basketball team needs to get home and we need to go to work...We need to practice. We need to get better and we need our home crowd. It has been a long time since we've been home...I'm not going to make excuses about who we don't have and what we don't have...We're going to try to get this group that we've got better."

Perhaps a return home is exactly what the Miners need. But, more than that, this team needs to find a leader, and a scorer. So far, we haven't exactly seen either. Until they are able to find that go to player, that can create for himself, these struggles will likely continue.

The Miners will welcome the New Mexico State Aggies into the Don Haskins Center Wednesday, opening up a much needed 6 game homestand. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. MT.

Women's Basketball Still Undefeated

The UTEP women's basketball team is having no trouble finding wins, even after losing two of their top players to season ending injuries. The Miners improved to 5-0 Friday, dropping Arizona 64-53 in the final round of the Junkanoo Jam Tournament.

Anete Steinberga led the way for the Miners with 18 points and 6 rebounds, Chrishauna Parker (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Kayla Thornton (10 points, 10 rebounds) each had double doubles, and Kelli Willingham finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and five assists.

The Miners will next be in action on Wednesday, in Las Cruces against the Aggies. Tipoff for that contest is slated for 6:30 p.m. MT.

AROUND CONFERENCE USA

Conference USA Bowl Projections

Heading into this weekend's games, only three Conference USA teams were bowl eligible. The conference has six tie ins. There was a possibility that the number would stay at three, but with two of the three teams who were one win away winning, the conference will now send five teams to a bowl. Here are ESPN's bowl projections.

AROUND THE COUNTRY

BCS National Championship

With their win over USC on Saturday, the Notre Dame fighting Irish have secured their spot in the BCS National Championship, but who will join them? Alabama and Georgia are set to face off in the SEC Championship game, and barring anything crazy, the winner of that game will meet the Irish in Miami.

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