Ultimate Miners Bracket Final Four
Our second Final Four matchup features a pair of teams led by superstar senior Miner players. Jim "Bad News" Barnes and Tim Hardaway gave the Miners historically monstrous seasons in 1964 and 1989 respectively. But which year featured the better team? Do either of these teams have what it takes to matchup against the Champs in the UMB final matchup? We find out this week on the Ultimate Miners Bracket...
|Record vs eventual NCAA Tournament teams|
|25-3||n/a||2-1 (split the season series with the Arizona State Sun Devils and beat the Wichita State Shockers)|
|26-7||11-5 (Tied for 2nd)||3-2 (beat Colorado State twice and South Carolina State and lost to Colorado State and Indiana)|
ROSTERS & INDIVIDUAL STATS
|1964 TEAM ROSTER||YR||FG%||AST||BLK||STL||RPG||PPG|
|1989 TEAM ROSTER||YR||FG%||AST||BLK||STL||RPG||PPG|
|David Van Dyke||FR||46.0||7||90||18||4.0||5.6|
1989 has a surprising advantage in offensive efficiency (51.5% to 44.8%). It's surprising for two reasons: 1) teams in the 3-point shot era take more shots from the perimeter, at least in theory, because they are worth more and 2) 1964's strengths seem to be in the paint with Barnes. When you look closer though, you see that Barnes did in fact shoot an awesome percentage (56.2%). 1964's team offensive efficiency is weighted down by poor shooting from three key players in Banks, Stoglin, and Dibler. Where 1964 does have a decided advantage is in rebounding. To put it shortly, Harry Flournoy was a good rebounder even as a sophomore and Jim Barnes was a rebounding beast. 19.2 rebounds per game is an average I'm not sure we'll see anyone come close to ever again.
Another notable team stat is 1989's blocking. You would think Greg Foster and Antonio Davis had a lot to do with this advantage, but no. David Van Dyke's 90 blocks in 1989 were more than Foster and Davis's total blocks combined (44). It's nearly impossible to keep Barnes from getting his 20 rebounds per game, but could Van Dyke's blocking ability have kept Barnes from obtaining his scoring average of 30? That might be one of the key questions in this matchup.
NOTABLE WINS & LOSSES
- Swept New Mexico State Aggies
- Lost to Washington Huskies in the second game of the season
- Beat #5 Wichita State Shockers on the road
- Beat Denver and Clemson to win the Sun Carnival Classic
- Win streak of 16 games
- Started the season 15-2
- Swept New Mexico State Aggies
- Lost to Indiana Hoosiers on the road by 18
- Beat Cleveland State and Maryland to win the Sun Carnival Classic
- Beat Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado State to win the WAC Tournament in Salt Lake City
NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS
In 1964, only 25 teams received NCAA Tournament invites and 7 received first round byes. The remaining 18 teams battled for what we would call the "Sweet Sixteen" today. The Miners played in one of the opening round play-in games against the Texas A&M Aggies and won by just 6 points. In that game, Bad News posted 42 points and 19 rebounds for the victorious Miners. In the round of sixteen, the Miners drew a tough Kansas State Wildcats team and lost by just 4 points after Barnes fouled out with only 4 points. The Miners then beat the Creighton Blue Jays in the regional consolation game and Kansas State would go all the way to the Final Four. Barnes recorded 61 points, 28 rebounds, and perhaps most importantly 13 personal fouls in his 3 NCAA Tournament games in 1964.
In a field of 64 teams, the 1989 Miners received a 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In their first round matchup, the Miners beat the LSU Tigers with the help of near double doubles from Tim Hardaway (31 pts, 9 asts) and Antonio Davis (13 pts, 9 rbds) and strong supporting performances from Stewart, Melvin, and Foster. In the round of 32 the Miners met again with Bob Knight's powerful Indiana Hoosiers squad, who had beaten them by 18 in the regular season. The rematch did not go very well for the Miners either. In that game, Hardaway scored 20 points, but only shot 28% from the field (compared to his season average of almost 55%). The Miners were also out-assisted by the Hoosiers 23-10.
The starting lineups by my estimation:
Orsten Artis, 6-1
Andy Stoglin, 6-0
Charlie Banks, 6-3
Harry Flournoy, 6-5
Jim Barnes, 6-8
Tim Hardaway, 6-0
Prince Stewart, 5-10
Johnny Melvin, 6-4
Antonio Davis, 6-8
Greg Foster, 7-0
It's really hard not to think about this matchup without first thinking about the star power these two teams possess. Two of the five Miners who have their jersey numbers retired (Hardaway's 10 and Barnes's 45) are featured in this matchup and both were seniors on a mission. We are lucky to have plenty of footage of Hardaway's highlights, and there are even "How to UTEP Two Step" Youtube videos online thanks to Timmy. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Barnes. Instead, we have to rely on the recollections of those who saw him play with their own two eyes. In an April posting on the UTEP Athletics website, Junior guard Steve Treddenick recalls:
"At 6-8, 230 pounds or whatever he was, he could literally outrun any of us... He was extraordinarily quick. Physically he was an interesting guy. because he was tall and heavy, but all of his weight for the most part was concentrated in his shoulders, arms, and trunk. His legs weren't skinny but comparatively smaller, and that's where his quickness came from... He was about the same size as LeBron James is now, but he looked like a giant out there when we were playing... Usually the other team had a big man, but he wasn't that good. We ran into the Luke Jacksons and the Paul Silases, but they were few and far between."
Without a doubt, Barnes and Hardaway are key players in this matchup. So the first question is, how do these two teams slow down the other's weapon? We know the 1964 Miners ranked second in the nation in scoring defense and held nearly all their opponents to well below their season average, but could any of the guards on 64 stop Hardaway and Prince Stewart? On the flip side, could the trio of Foster, Davis and Van Dyke have slowed down a LeBron James-style player in Jim Barnes? How much of Bad News Barnes's greatness is due to the fact that he was unusually quick and physically dominant? Is he still as effective when you take away the physically dominant part by adding a player in Antonio Davis who was just as big and another in Greg Foster who was 4 inches taller to the court? These are all interesting questions to consider.
Then there are the questions about the supporting casts. Outside of Jim Barnes wreaking havoc in and out of the paint area, the 1964 Miners also had significant scoring contributions from an under-appreciatedly great guard in Orsten Artis, as well as Charlie Banks and Andy Stoglin. Flournoy, Banks, and Stoglin were also decent at nabbing the few rebounds that eluded Barnes's grasp. For the 1989 Miners, Hardaway was joined in the backcourt by a sophomore who would go on to become a great Miner player himself in Prince Stewart. Johnny Melvin and Mark McCall were young utility men that Haskins could plug in in case of foul trouble and not miss a beat talentwise. And then of course there are the bigs that we have already talked about: two future durable pros in Greg Foster and Antonio Davis and a 6-10 blocking machine freshmen who would also prove pivotal for the Miners four years later in the 1992 season. Both teams had talent outside their superstars, but I'd have to give the advantage to the 1989 team in terms of depth when even their freshmen and sophomores (Van Dyke, Melvin, McCall) were destined for excellent Miner careers themselves and were already contributing significantly. This depth advantage is especially important if the 1989 Miners are able to get Jim Barnes in foul trouble. Barnes did foul out of two Tourney games.
Ultimately, I think this matchup comes down to whose strength is stronger. Statistically speaking, the 1989 Miners had the most prolific offense in UTEP history, while the 1964 Miners had the second ranked scoring defense in the nation. Offensive efficiency matters even more when you are playing a great rebounding team like 1964 Texas Western. It's not unlike the old cliche about the unstoppable force vs the immovable object.
So there you have it, Final Four semifinal #2. The winning team advances to play 1966 in the championship while the losing team will play (in our imaginations of course) against the 1992 Miners in the 3rd place match on next week's edition. Vote and leave your insights in the comments section!
Who would win this matchup?
1964 Texas Western Miners (17 votes)
1989 UTEP Miners (24 votes)
41 total votes