Voting for the final Ultimate Miners Bracket Elite Eight matchup has closed and the Final Four Miner teams are set. Those lucky Miner players participating in our minds' hardwood include Bobby Joe Hill, Tim Hardaway, Eddie Rivera, Jim Barnes, Orsten Artis, David Lattin, Prince Stewart, Marlon Maxey, Nevil Shed, Antonio Davis, Greg Foster, and David Van Dyke to name a few.
The UMB Final Four matchups are as follows:
(1)1966 Texas Western Miners vs (5) 1992 UTEP Miners
(2) 1964 Texas Western Miners vs (6) 1989 UTEP Miners
For those who don't remember, the seedings were determined by the team's overall winning percentage that season. So 1966's team gets the highest seed because they had the highest winning percentage of any Miner team ever (only 1 loss), not because they won it all. 1992's team went the second deepest in the NCAA Tournament but only gets the 5 seed because 4 other Miner teams had higher overall winning percentages (1966, 1964, 1984, 1986).
These four finalists were chosen by your votes in an imaginary NCAA Tournament-style bracket. As is the case with all Final Fours it seems like, there are some worthy teams that were left out. 1984 posted the third best winning percentage in UTEP history and was unbeatable at home, but the memory of Tim Hardaway's monster-senior season gave 1989 the edge in their Elite Eight matchup. 1986's team was shocked in the first round by Jim Barnes's 1963 team. 2004 and 2005, favorite teams of many Miner fans thanks to OT, Fili, and Tofi, both failed to make it out of the first round. The most recent great Miner team, Barbee's 2010 team, had a nice run but ultimately came up one game shy of the Final Four after losing to 1964. Feel free to write a tribute to your favorite Miner team if they're not included in the Final Four in the comments.
The first Final Four matchup (1966 v 1992) will be posted Monday, July 23rd bright and early. The second matchup will be posted Monday, July 30th at the same time. There will be a third place matchup posted Monday, August 6th. The Miner Championship will be posted Monday, August 13th. Voting will last exactly 1 week for each matchup. Thus, we will know who Miner fans think would win it all by Monday, August 20th. A few weeks later, football season starts and the sports year really gets going.
So there you have it my fellow Rush Heads. Four amazing Miner teams, 2 hella-good matchups, and 1 awesome way to kill the dog days of summer.