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Ultimate Miners Bracket: (5) 1992 Miners vs (12) 2004 Miners

In one corner, Eddie Rivera, Marlon Maxey, David Van Dyke, Ralph Davis, Prince Stewart, and Johnny Melvin. In the other, Fili Rivera, Omar Thomas, John Tofi, Jason Williams, and Roy Smallwood.


1992 UTEP MINERS
27-7 (12-4, Tied for 1st in WAC)

ROSTER ____________ FG% ___ RPG ___ APG ___ PPG
Marlon Maxey (SR) ____ 52.1 ____ 7.4 ____ 0.4 ____ 15.2

David Van Dyke (SR) ___ 54.9 ___ 6.2 ____ 0.9 ____ 13.9
Prince Stewart (SR) ____ 38.1 ___ 3.4 ____ 4.4 ____ 11.5
Eddie Rivera (JR) _____ 47.7 ____ 2.9 ____ 4.3 ____ 11.4
Johnny Melvin (JR) ____ 45.9 ____ 4.8 ____ 1.6 ____ 8.0
Ralph Davis (SO) _____ 49.5 ____ 4.7 ____ 1.0 ____ 7.2
Roy Howard (JR) _____ 43.8 ____ 4.4 ____ 0.5 ____ 4.2
Gym Bice (JR) _______ 43.6 ____ 1.1 ____ 1.4 ____ 3.8
Darryl Christopher (FR) _ 36.6 ___ 0.8 ____ 0.3 ____ 2.3
John Portis (JR) ______ 52.4 ____ 1.8 ____ 0.3 ____ 1.8
David Dick (FR) _______ 44.4 ___ 0.5 ____ 0.2 ____ 1.0
Jeff Deal (FR) ________ 33.3 ___ 0.4 ____ 0.0 _____ 0.5

TEAM STATS ___ FG% ___ FT% ____ 3PT% __ RPG ___ APG ___ PPG
Miners _______ 47.1 ____ 67.7 ____ 35.0 ____ 36.1 ___ 14.6 ___ 72.9
Opponents ____ 40.9 ____ 69.7 ____ 34.3 ____ 32.4 ___ 10.5 ___ 62.9

1992 NOTABLE WINS & LOSSES

- Split the season series with the NMSU Aggies, losing at home by 2 and winning in Las Cruces by 7
- Beat Northern Iowa and Texas to win the Sun Carnival Classic
- Beat Washington on the road by 5
- Beat Colorado State and New Mexico before losing to BYU in the WAC Championship game held in Salt Lake City
- The '92 Miners played 6 games against eventual NCAA Tournament teams going 3-3. Their 3 victories came against NMSU, Texas, and BYU and their 3 losses came to NMSU and BYU (twice).

1992 NCAA TOURNY RESULTS
The Miners were given a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament after earning a share of the WAC regular season title with BYU. The Miners edged Evansville in the first round in a low-scoring game for the right to play the top seeded Kansas Jayhawks. I shouldn't have to tell you how that second round game went down. The Miners then fell to Bob Huggins's Cincinnati team in the Sweet Sixteen by only 2 points. The Bearcats would go on to blast Memphis State by 31 in the Elite Eight and make it to the Final Four where they were joined by eventual champ Duke, Michigan, and Indiana. The NMSU Aggies also made it to the Sweet Sixteen this year.

2004 UTEP Miners
24-8 (13-5, Tied for 1st in WAC)

ROSTER ___________ FG% __ RPG __ APG ___ PPG
Omar Thomas (JR) ___ 53.3 __ 4.8 ____ 1.1 ____ 15.5
Jason Williams (SO) __ 44.7 __ 6.1 ____ 3.5 ____ 11.6
Filiberto Rivera (JR) ___ 44.3 __ 3.1 ____ 4.8 ____ 11.2
John Tofi (SO) _______ 56.7 __ 5.9 _____ 1.1 ___ 10.8
Chris Craig (SR) _____ 41.3 __ 2.4 _____ 2.1 ____ 9,2
Roy Smallwood (SR) __ 56.7 __ 5.1 _____ 1.8 ____ 8.2
Giovanni St. Amant (SO) 38.9 __ 1.4 _____ 1.4 ____ 5.9
Brent Murphy (SO) ____ 47.6 __ 1.2 _____ 0.2 ____ 2.7
Omar Duran (SR) _____ 36.0 __ 0.4 ____ 0.2 _____ 1.6
Thomas Gehrke (JR) __ 22.7 __ 1.4 ____ 1.5 _____ 1.5
Darius Mattear (SR) ___ 63.6 __ 0.9 ____ 0.0 _____ 1.0
Josh Johnston (SO) ___ 66.7 __ 0.2 ____ 0.7 _____ 0.0
Joe Devance (JR) _____ 25.0 __ 0.4 ____ 0.1 _____ 0.5
Josh Gutierrez (SO) ____ 33.3 __ 0.1 ___ 0.0 _____ 0.4

TEAM STATS ___ FG% __ FT% __ 3PT% _ RPG __ APG __ PPG
Miners _______ 47.7 ____ 75.2 __ 38.4 __ 34.6 __ 16.3 __ 77.5
Opponents ____ 41.6 ____ 68.8 __ 33.6 __ 34.7 __ 12.7 __ 67.5

2004 NOTABLE WINS & LOSSES
- Swept New Mexico State
- Beat Rutgers to win the Sun Classic
- Split the regular season series with Nevada, beating the Wolf Pack at home by 3 and losing in Reno by 29
- Beat Louisiana Tech and Boise State before losing to Nevada in the WAC Championship game held in Fresno, CA.
- The '04 Miners played 4 games against teams that would eventually make the NCAA Tourney going 1-3. Their lone victory came against Nevada at home. 2 of their 3 losses were to Nevada with the other one coming to Texas Tech.

2004 TOURNEY RESULTS
The Miners sweated out Selection Sunday but eked out a 13-seed as an at-large. The Miners played a great high-scoring opening round game against the Maryland Terps. That game saw 5 Miners score in double figures and John Tofi record a double-double. The Miners' last second 3-pointer missed and Maryland advanced only to lose to Syracuse in the next round. Meanwhile, the WAC Champion Nevada team beat Michigan State and Gonzaga to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The Final Four this year featured the champion UConn Huskies, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, and Duke.

THE MATCHUP
This is one of the better matchups we have seen in the UMB so far. Take a look at these similarities:
- Both teams featured guards that spread the ball around to their teammates or score for themselves (Eddie Rivera and Prince Stewart for '92, and Fili Rivera for '04)

- Both teams were underrated in the post. The '92 team had few guys over 6'8 but Van Dyke set a school record for blocks in a season. John Tofi was by far the '04 Miners' best option in the post and was the epitome of a hustle guy.

- Neither team had high expectations heading into the season. The '92 Miners had lost 2 of their 4 top scorers. The '04 Miners were coming off of a horrendous 6-24 season.

- Both teams were relying on unproven junior college transfers named Rivera as their starting point guards.

- Both teams outscored their opponents by 10 points per game.

- Both teams tied for the WAC regular season crown, splitting the season series with the other team (BYU in '92, and Nevada in '04)

- Both teams lost the rubber match in the WAC Championship game

For my money though, I have to go with the 1992 team. They played in a much tougher WAC, had a more impressive non-conference slate, had more veteran players, and advanced further in the NCAA Tourney. You can't argue with a win over top-seeded Kansas. Had the Miners gotten past Cincinnati, it is not unreasonable to believe they could have beat Memphis State and advanced to their second ever Final Four. They were that close. The 2004 Tournament on the other hand was wide open. The '04 Miners played well enough to beat Maryland. They would have played in another toss-up game against Syracuse in the next round. It just didn't happen. I love both of these teams though.

UMB ELITE EIGHT SO FAR...
(1) 1966 Texas Western Miners
(9) 1987 UTEP Miners

(5) 1992 Miners or (12) 2004 Miners (This week's matchup)
(4) 1986 Miners or (13) 1963 Miners

(3) 1984 Miners or (14) 1988 Miners
(6) 1989 Miners or (11) 1975 Miners

(7) 2010 Miners or (10) 2005 Miners
(2) 1964 Miners or (15) 1985 Miners

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