It's the last matchup in the UMB's first round. Next week we're down to the 8 Miner teams who have advanced in the bracket thanks to Rush voters. This week's matchup features two of UTEP's most overlooked teams: a 25-3 team from 1964 that saw Jim Barnes record a monster statistical year and a well-balanced team with 3 All-Wac team selections in Luster Goodwin, Dave Feitl, and Juden Smith.
1964 Texas Western Miners
* No statistics were kept for assists, steals, or blocks
This is the last matchup of the first round and of all the individual stats we've seen, I don't think there's a better single season by a Miner player than Jim Barnes's 1964 campaign. The monstrous numbers speak for themselves. Aside from Jim Barnes setting school records for points (816), scoring average (29.2), field goals (299), field goal attempts (532), free throws (218), free throw attempts (295), rebounds (537), and rebounding average (19.2), the rest of the Miners weren't so bad either. This team included 4 players that would eventually become national champions just two years later: Artis, Flournoy, Armstrong, and Railey, although only the first two were significant contributors. As a team, the '64 Miners set a record that still stands for scoring margin (+17.2), field goal percentage defense (.360), and rebounding margin (+15.3). They were ranked second in the nation in scoring defense and fourth in total rebounding. TWC's only 3 losses came by a combined 14 points and all featured Barnes fouling out.
1964 NOTABLE WINS & LOSSES
-Swept New Mexico State
-Lost to Washington in second game of season
-Beat #5 Wichita State on the road
-Beat Clemson and Denver to win Sun Carnival Classic
-The 1964 Miners played 3 regular season games against eventual NCAA Tournament teams and went 2-1 in these games. They beat Wichita State and split the season series with Arizona State.
1964 NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS
The 1964 team is one of only four Miner teams to win more than one game in the NCAA Tournament. Only 25 teams made the field at this time and the Miners drew Texas A&M in the first round. TWC beat Texas A&M by six. Guess who posted a ridiculous stat line of 42 points and 19 rebounds in that game for the Miners? Andy Stoglin added a double double of his own to secure the victory. In the round of 16, the Miners lost a close one to Kansas State. In that game, Jim Barnes fouled out relatively early after posting just 4 points. Banks, Stoglin, and Dibler all scored in double digits to try and make up for Barnes's lost points but in the end it wasn't enough. The Miners then beat the Creighton Blue Jays by 11 in the regional consolation game. Meanwhile, the Kansas State Wildcats would make it all the way to the Final Four where they would lose by only 6 to John Wooden's Champion UCLA team. Duke and Michigan were the other two national semifinalists.
1985 UTEP MINERS
22-10 (12-4, 1st in WAC)
The 1985 team tied a school record with 3 selections to the All-WAC Team (Goodwin, Feitl, Smith). Like the other great Miner teams of the 1980's, the '85 squad had depth and balance that was forged through what we now call "building a program the right way," meaning staggered classes of promising freshmen and established veterans. This team had a great mix of outgoing seniors looking for one last Tourney run (Goodwin, Allen, Lockhart), juniors realizing their leadership roles (Feitl, Smith, Hamilton), and sophomores gathering valuable playing time and learning how to win (Jeep Jackson, Quintan Gates).
1985 NOTABLE WINS & LOSSES
- Split season series with New Mexico State
- Beat Arizona State by 11
- Beat Wake Forest but lost to Purdue in Sun Carnival Classic
- Lost to San Diego State in WAC Tournament Championship game in El Paso
- The '85 Miners played 5 games against eventual NCAA Tournament teams going 1-4. They split their regular season series with the SDSU Aztecs and lost to them in the WAC title game and also lost to Purdue and Southern.
1985 NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS
The '85 Miners would have gotten a much better seeding had they knocked off San Diego State in the WAC Championship. That said, they received an 11-seed and drew 6-seeded future in-conference rival Tulsa in the first round. The Miners upset the Golden Hurricane to advance to the second round thanks to a balanced attack from the usual suspects (Goodwin, Smith, Feitl, and Lockhart). In the second round the Miners had to deal with a powerful NC State team led by Spud Webb, Lorenzo Charles, and Nate McMillan that was only two years removed from their national championship. Webb and Charles combined for 59 points for the Wolfpack and the Miners got outrebounded by 14 to ensure their tournament exit. 1985's Final Four was made up of current (at the time) or future Big East schools: Champion Villanova, runner-up Georgetown, St. John's, and Memphis.
I did not have the fortune of being around in 1964 to see that team play, but judging by their record and stat lines, man would it have been exciting. Statistically speaking, it's hard to argue with Jim Barnes being the single greatest Miner basketball player of all time. That said, his physical style of play led to his getting in foul trouble often. The '85 Miners had plenty of forwards to throw at Barnes to try and slow him down but it's hard not to imagine JB getting his points. Personally I just don't see how the '85 team would be able to muster enough points to beat '64 given '64's defense was one of the stingiest in all Miner history.
But of course, the UMB is all about the fans and so the team to advance will be decided by your votes...
UMB BRACKET SO FAR...
Again, this is the last matchup of the first round. Next week we'll kick off the Ultimate Miners Elite Eight with 1966 vs 1987. The matchups only get tougher...
(1) 1966 Texas Western Miners
(9) 1987 UTEP Miners
(5) 1992 UTEP Miners
(13) 1963 Texas Western Miners
(3) 1984 UTEP Miners
(6) 1989 UTEP Miners
(7) 2010 UTEP Miners
(2) 1964 Texas Western Miners or (15) 1985 UTEP Miners (This week's matchup)
Who would win this matchup?
1964 Texas Western Miners (27 votes)
1985 UTEP Miners (13 votes)
40 total votes