The Ultimate Miners Bracket returns with a vengeance after a two week long-hiatus, broken laptop be damned. This week we look for our third semifinalist. In one corner we have the UTEP team with the best record of The Bear's 80's run, the balanced 1984 team featuring Luster Goodwin, Fred Reynolds, Kent Lockhart and young guns Dave Feitl and Juden Smith. In the other corner we have the 1989 team led by senior Tim Hardaway, and juniors Antonio Davis and Greg Foster. As always, you decide who advances in the UMB.
|Overall Record||Conference Record||Record versus eventual NCAA Tourney teams|
|1984 UTEP Miners||27-4||13-3 (1st in WAC)||4-1 with wins over Louisiana Tech, BYU, Alcorn State, and Indiana and a loss to BYU|
|1989 UTEP Miners||26-7||11-5 (Tied for 2nd in WAC)||3-2 with wins over Colorado State twice and South Carolina State and losses to Colorado State and Indiana|
ROSTERS & INDIVIDUAL STATS
|David Van Dyke||FR||46.0||7||90||18||4.0||5.6|
Not listed in the stats for 1984 are the record attendance numbers which may have had something to do with that team finishing 21-0 at home and rising as high as fifth in the national polls. The Miners averaged 11,568 fans at home games and recorded 11 sellouts. Talk about the golden age of Miner basketball. The stats show a tale of two very good but very different teams in this comparison. The 1989 Miners scored more regular season points (2,588) than any other UTEP team. The 1984 team on the other hand played a slower game and limited its opponents to under 60 on average for the season. The biggest difference outside of points per game comes in the blocks category where 1989 averaged a very good 5.7 blocks per game. You would think this would be mainly because of Greg Foster and Antonio Davis, UTEP's two stars in the low post, but actually Freshman David Van Dyke recorded more than twice as many blocks as Davis and Foster combined.
NOTABLE WINS & LOSSES
- Started the season 15-0
-Swept New Mexico State
-Beat then 15-ranked Michigan and then Arizona to win the Sun Carnival Classic
-Beat then 10-ranked Indiana by 4 at home
-Beat Wyoming and New Mexico to win the WAC Tournament title held in El Paso
-Finished the year ranked 9th in the AP Poll
-Started the season 15-2
-Swept New Mexico State
-Lost to Indiana 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 title held in Salt Lake City
NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS
The 84 Miners received a 4 seed and therefore had a first-round bye in the 53-team NCAA Tournament. Only Georgetown, Oklahoma, and Duke received higher seeds in the West region. A 4-seed in the NCAA Tourney essentially means the committee thinks you're the 13th-16th best team in the nation. The Miners awaited the winner of UNLV and Princeton in the round of 32. Sure enough, Jerry Tarkanian's Runnin' Rebels beat the Tigers and were ultimately too much for the Miners in the second round as well. In that UTEP-UNLV 4-5 matchup, the Rebels pulled away from the Miners in the second half, shooting 15 more free throws than the Miners and nabbing 14 more rebounds. It's a shame one of the all-time best regular season records in UTEP history did not mean a deep tournament run. Lockhart, Reynolds, and Goodwin each scored about their average but with no one able to pull down rebounds for the Miners, they fell despite shooting a better field goal percentage than their opponent UNLV.
The 89 Miners received a 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament in what had then become a 64 team field. The Miners drew a tricky first round matchup in Dale Brown's LSU Tigers. In that game UTEP rode a stellar first-half defensive performance to beat the Tigers by 11. Tim Hardaway scored 31 points and was 1 assist away from a double-double. In the second round the Miners met a team that had beaten them by 18 in the regular season, Bob Knight's Indiana Hoosiers. In the rematch, the Hoosiers laid it on the Miners even more, outrebounding the Miners by 14, out-assisting them by 13, and ultimately beating them 92-69. All 5 of the Hoosier starters scored in double digits.
My guess for the starting matchups would be:
G Luster Goodwin, 6'0
G Kent Lockhart, 6'6
F Fred Reynolds, 6'6
F Kevin Hamilton, 6'6
C Dave Feitl, 6'11
with Donnell Allen or Juden Smith possibly in the mix and definitely giving plenty of minutes as well. Juden Smith in particular was actually playing more minutes towards the end of the year. Quintan Gates and Jeep Jackson would become Miner stars themselves in later years, but during the 1984 season they were raw freshmen who received few minutes on a very deep team.
G Tim Hardaway, 6'0
G Prince Stewart, 5'10
F Johnny Melvin, 6'4
F Antonio Davis, 6'9
C Greg Foster, 7'0
Gotta be honest, I'm not sure this lineup would look this way outside of Hardaway, Davis, and Foster. The 1989 Miners really mainly used an 8-man rotation with the guys listed above plus Jerry Johnson, David Van Dyke, and Mark McCall. Either way, 1989 seems to have a great mix of inside and outside players with Hardaway and Stewart in the backcourt and Foster, Davis, and Van Dyke down low.
Hopefully there are enough MinerRush readers who were around in the 1980's and saw both of these teams play to provide some input in the comments. How do you see this matchup going down? Would Tim Hardaway be too much for 1984? He did seem to be on a mission his senior year racking up awards and milestones. How would 1984's potent mix of guard-forward combos fare against 1989? The teams are only 5 years apart but still one has the advantage of a 3-point line while the other did not. How does that change the matchup?
ULTIMATE MINERS BRACKET SO FAR...
UTEP Men's Basketball Ultimate Final Four
(1) 1966 Texas Western Miners
(5) 1992 UTEP Miners
(3) 1984 UTEP Miners or (6) 1989 UTEP Miners (This week's matchup)
(2) 1964 Texas Western Miners or (7) 2010 UTEP Miners