Full posting is now returning.... expect a plethora of fresh content today. Let's kick it off by getting a feel for UTEP's media coverage nationwide. Oh, and yes, El Guapo, I know what it means to say I have a plethora.
Barbee the Bulldog?: The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens tells an interesting story. Did you know Tony Barbee grew up hoping to play for Butler? Expect to hear the announcers at the game play this story up.... a lot.
He regularly attended games and more than once dreamed about playing for the Bulldogs. Later, as a high school senior, Barbee was recruited by Butler but chose instead to play at the University of Massachusetts for then UMass coach John Calipari.
Battle of the Bigs: SBNation's Nick Fasulo thinks the UTEP-Butler game will come down to the battle between Derrick Caracter and Matt Howard. He does a good job of previewing the West Bracket.
As a 12-seed who did not win their conference tournament, UTEP and the Utah State Aggies were the last two teams to make the field. That said, the Miners have a clear athleticism advantage and are more than capable of advancing past Butler.
The Eyes of the Nation are on UTEP-Butler: The Washington Post has ranked the UTEP-Butler game as the second-best game on Thursday
Another upset watch. Butler’s resume was strong enough to give them a No. 5 seed. But UTEP would have earned a better seed than 12 if it had not slipped up in the Conference USA title game vs. Houston.
How the West Was Won: Burnt Orange Nation's Peter Bean thinks Syracuse's toughest test in the west will be whoever emerges from the Miners end of the bracket.
Syracuse fans should be giggling right now. The two seed in their bracket (K-State) is not a team that's well-geared to giving them trouble, the 3-seed (Pitt) seems to me seeded far too high, and the Orangemen's toughest challenge might prove be the winner of Butler-UTEP-Vandy.
Make Your Travel Plans: UTEP has officially announced the official 2010 football schedule. The Miners kick off the season September 4, 2010, against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The cream-puff September schedule ends there, as the Miners take on Case Keenum & Company in Houston the very next week. That game will be on ESPN. In order to make that happen, the Miners and Cougars had to agree to play the game on a Friday.
Top Bulldog: Butler's Gordon Hayward has been named a finalist for the 2010 Wooden Award (one of 26). Hayward is a good player who likes to step up in big games.
Butler sophomore Gordon Hayward, Purdue junior Robbie Hummel and Notre Dame senior Luke Harangody are among 26 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, which recognizes the most outstanding men's college basketball player for his excellence on and off the court. The winner will be announced April 9.
Dead Men Walking: Tom Pender's squad played the C-USA Tournament as if their season depended on it. It did, and their efforts obviously paid off.
The Cougars, in other words, will try to build on the Dead-Men-Walking theme that Penders laid out at the beginning of the C-USA Tournament. The premise: Nobody is more dangerous than the person who figures he's as good as dead and has nothing to lose.
Sharing the Wealth: Houston's Aubrey Coleman struggled against UTEP. So, he passed the ball, and is now seen as the great distributor in H-Town.
"He sees the big picture. At first, the big picture was just him. Now he realizes the big picture is us."
Friday Night Lights: Kevin Sumlin's squad will play two games on ESPN next year. Both of them will be on Friday against two teams that beat them last year. I have to give the Coug's credit. They play three BCS teams: Mississippi State, UCLA, and they close out their season against Tommy Tuberville's boys in Lubbock (it feels weird saying that).
ESPN will carry a 9:15 p.m. game against UTEP, which gave UH a 58-41 beating last season, on Sept. 10. ESPN2 will televise a 7 p.m. encounter with UCF, which handed the Cougars a 37-32 defeat last season, on Nov. 5.
C-USA > Directional Carolina
The UAB Blazers won their NIT game against Coastal Carolina. And, Marshall won their game against Western Carolina in the CIT.