Today, at a 2:00 p.m. press conference, officials from UTEP and WestStar Bank announced the field for the 2012 Sun Bowl Invitational Tournament. The field will include: host UTEP, along with Nebraska, Central Michigan, and Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
The Miners will take on the Golden Lions of Arkansas Pine-Bluff to kick off the tournament at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday December 22nd, with the Nebraska Cornhuskers facing off against the Central Michigan Chipewas 30 minutes after the conclusion on game 1.
Sunday, December 23rd, will feature both the consolation and championship games. The first game, featuring the two losing teams from Saturday, will take place at 5:00 p.m., with the championship game following immediately after.
The Cornhuskers, of the Big 10, finished 12-18 and 4-14 in conference play in the final season of the Doc Sadler era last year. Of course Sadler, who is now the director of basketball operations at Kansas, is a former UTEP head coach.
The Chipewas, of the Mid-American Conference, went 11-21 and 5-11 in 2011-12, and the Golden Lions finished with an overall mark of 11-21, and 9-9 in the SWAC.
WestStar Bank, formerly Bank of the West, will be the presenting sponsor of the tournament, through 2016. Also announced today, was the renaming of the invitational's MVP trophy. That will now be called the Barry Koben MVP trophy, named after the chairman of 25 years.
Today's announcement of the WestStar Bank Invitational Field brings us one step closer to completing the 2011-12 schedule. The only piece left to be announced will be the Old Spice Classic pairings, which should be announced in the coming days. Stay tuned to MinerRush for more information, as it becomes available.