The Miners enter the contest at 15-12 overall, and 8-5 in Conference USA play. They come in fresh off a much needed home win over Houston, after having lost four of their previous five games.
The Owls come into the game at 5-22 overall, and just 1-12 in conference action. Their last win also happened to be a home win against Houston, however that came back on January 30th. Rice has since dropped 7 straight.
These two teams have met 26 times, with the Miners holding a 15-11 advantage. They have also won 11 of the last 15 matchups, and have taken 2 of 3 at Tudor Fieldhouse. The last time they met was February 6th in El Paso, a 65-53 victory for the Miners.
UTEP is led by sophomore guard/forward Julian Washburn and junior center John Bohannon. Washburn leads the Miners in scoring with 11.5 points, and also averaged 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists a game. Bohannon, who is fresh off a career night (24 points, 17 rebounds) averages 11.1 points, and 6.4 rebounds a game.
This is a game that the Miners should dominate. The Owls were decimated by departures in the off season, and it has shown in their 5-22 record. While they have improved throughout the season, there is no question that they are outmatched nearly every time they step on the floor.
The Owls are not a deep team, nor are they big. The Miners should be able to control the glass, and the tempo of this game. And, if their bigs plays anything like they did just days ago against Houston, this one could really turn into a route.
Considering the Owls are at home, they'll probably keep it close for a while. But in the end, the size and defensive intensity of the Miners will be too much for them to handle.
Miners 68, Owls 55