The Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational basketball tournament is set to tip off tomorrow, December 27th, at 7:00 p.m. mst. This year's tournament includes Western New Mexico, Air Force, and Sam Houston State, along with our UTEP Miners. The tournament is the oldest collegiate holiday basketball tournament in the nation, and it was recently renamed to honor the late, legendary Don Haskins.
The opening round will pit UTEP (9-3) vs. Western New Mexico (3-7) at 7:00 p.m., with Air Force (7-3) taking on Sam Houston State (6-4) 30 minutes after the completion of the first game. This year the tournament will take on a little different format than in previous years. Second day games have already been set, with Sam Houston taking on Western NM at 5:30 followed by UTEP vs. Air Force at 7:30. Apparently, this was done in order to prevent UTEP from taking on SHSU in back to back games as the Miners play the Bearkats on January 2nd in the Don.
UTEP will look to regroup, and rebound after suffering its worst defeat of the season last Thursday in Provo, UT. The Miners took on now no. 16 BYU, dropping that contest 89-68. The Miners started hot in that one jumping out to a quick double digit lead, but were unable to weather the storm once the Cougars caught fire. The Miners will need to turn it around quickly as these three teams can all provide much of a challenge.
Western New Mexico is struggling at 3-7 on the season, but they do have some talented players and will be ready to go come game time. Air Force comes in at 7-3, and will be looking to rebound after their 74-63 loss at Northern Arizona. Sam Houston State is 6-4, but has lost games to no. 13 Texas, and twice to Houston by 2 and 4 points. These should be some good tuneups for the Miners prior to opening up conference play on January 5th vs. Tulsa at home in the Don Haskins Center.
Tickets for all games are still available. More information on the tournament, and on tickets can be found by contacting the Sun Bowl offices at (915)533-4416.