We've reached the last quarterfinal in the UMB, and what a matchup it is. These two teams are separated by almost 50 years, yet connected by Miner hardwood excellence. Figuring out this matchup should prove difficult. Who will join the 1966 National Champs, the Sweet Sixteen 1992 team, and Hardaway's 1989 squad in the Miner Final Four? Let's dig into the matchup and find out.
|Overall Record||Conference Record||Record versus eventual NCAA Tournament teams|
1964 Texas Western
|25-3||n/a||2-1 (split the season series with the Arizona State Sun Devils and beat the Wichita State Shockers)|
|2010 UTEP Miners||26-7||15-1||3-4 (beat New Mexico State, Houston, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and lost to New Mexico State, BYU, and Houston twice)|
ROSTERS & INDIVIDUAL STATS
|Gabriel McCulley||SO (RS)||50.0||1||0||4||1.0||1.8|
|1964 Team Stats||FG%||FT%||RPG||APG||BLK||STL||PPG|
|2010 Team Stats||FG%||FT%||RPG||APG||BPG||SPG||PPG|
NOTABLE WINS & LOSSES
-Swept New Mexico State
-Lost to Washington Huskies in the second game of the season
-Beat #5 Wichita State on the road
-Beat Denver and Clemson to win the Sun Carnival Classic
-Longest win streak was 16
-Split season series with New Mexico State
-Lost to Ole Miss in double overtime
-Beat Oklahoma by 15 in Oklahoma City
-Lost at home to BYU
-Beat Memphis on the road, ending the Tigers' record Conference-USA home winning streak
-Longest win streak was 16
NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS
Only 25 teams made the NCAA Tournament back in 1964, so getting an invite was already an accomplishment. 7 teams received first-round byes. The remaining 18 teams battled for spots in the Regional Semifinals (what we would consider the Sweet Sixteen). Texas Western did not receive a first-round bye and had to play a tough Texas A&M Aggie team. The Miners edged the Aggies by 6 in a game that saw Barnes post up 42 points and 19 rebounds. In the round of 16, the Miners lost a close game to the Kansas State Wildcats. In that game, Barnes fouled out early with only 4 points, leaving Banks, Stoglin, and Dibler to try and make up for lost offense. In the end, it wasn't enough. The Miners went on to beat the Creighton Blue Jays in the regional consolation game by 11, while Kansas State made it all the way to the Final Four.
2010 was the year Memphis' spot at the top of Conference USA was being seen as vulnerable, what with Coach John Calipari leaving for Kentucky and taking many prized recruits with him. Before the season, most writers speculated about a powerful Tulsa team perhaps taking the C-USA crown. Others liked UAB, Houston, or UTEP. But nobody expected any team in C-USA that year to storm through the conference with a 15-1 record. That's exactly what happened though. After dropping the conference-opener to Houston, the Miners reeled off 16 wins in a row before losing in the C-USA Tourney to those same pesky Houston Cougars. The Miners dropped in the seeding process all the way to a 12 seed and drew the Butler Bulldogs. After leading Butler at the half in the NCAA Tourney opener, the Bulldogs turned on the magic and blew out the Miners. Just the first win of many for Butler on their road to the National Championship game that year.
The 1964 Miners feature 4 players that would eventually become National Champions in 1966 (Artis, Flournoy, Armstrong, and Railey). But make no mistake about it, the biggest piece of the 1964 team was a guy named Jim Barnes. Armstrong and Railey were not big contributors, even in 1966. Barnes set school records for points (816), scoring average (29.2), field goal attempts (532), free throws (218), free throw attempts (295), rebounds (537), and rebounding average (19.2). The other big component of 1964's success was their excellent team defense. As a team, the 1964 Miners set a record that still stands for scoring margin (+17.2), field goal percentage defense (.360), and rebounding margin (+15.2). They were ranked second in the nation in scoring defense and fourth in the nation in total rebounding.
The 2010 Miners were one of the deepest and most balanced teams in UTEP history. How talented were they? Well with Arnett Moultrie being selected in the first round of the 2012 Draft, the grand total of players from this team to either be drafted by the NBA or make an NBA team is raised to 3 (Caracter, Stone, Moultrie). Randy Culpepper of course is making a name for himself in Europe and could soon become the 4th. That's about on par with the 1989 Miners of last week's matchup. With one of the most talented centers in the nation, a 6-foot 6 true point guard who could lock down opponents, and one of the most electrifying scorers UTEP has ever seen, the 2010 squad could match up with just about anyone and have a shot.
So how does the matchup go? In my view, everyone would want to know who guards Jim Barnes. In the first round matchup (2005 vs 2010), someone suggested Julyan Stone might guard Omar Thomas. Think of Jim Barnes as the Omar Thomas Deluxe version. Much better rebounder (no offense to OT's rebounding abilities, JB was just a once in a lifetime type of rebounder), bigger, and stronger. Which one of 1964's guards would have the unlucky task of guarding Randy Culpepper? Orsten Artis maybe? Would the Caracter-Moultrie combo be as effective with a forward like Barnes on the floor? Would 1964's second-ranked defense hold up against such a balanced attack? How much of an impact would 2010's deeper bench make? All questions to consider when voting this week.
UMB FINAL FOUR BRACKET
(1) 1966 Texas Western Miners
(5) 1992 UTEP Miners
(6) 1989 UTEP Miners
(2) 1964 TWC Miners or (7) 2010 UTEP Miners (This week's matchup)