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The Dig: Week Starter Edition

The Dig is your source for news on everything that is going on around UTEP athletics, Conference USA, and the rest of the country.

After seven weeks, the UTEP football team stands at 1-6, giving the Miners their worst start in the Mike Price era. But, its not all football around here. There's plenty more to talk about in UTEP sports, so let's get right to it.


Basketball Season Officially Begins

Last Friday marked the beginning of the 2012-13 basketball season, as the Miners took the floor for their first official practice of the year. Of the 14 players on the roster, only McKenzie Moore and Matt Willms were not in attendance. Moore won't be eligible until December per transfer rules, and Willms did not qualify and will redshirt this season.

Other newcomers looked good though. Chris Washburn Jr. was one who really stood out. As coach Floyd noted, he came onto campus about 30 pounds overweight, but worked hard to lose that weight and is now in great shape. Twymond Howard looks ready for division 1 basketball, and senior transfer Konner Tucker stated he is ready to fill whatever role necessary on this team.

Of course, those are only a couple of the names who should be solid contributors to this team alongside playmakers like Julian Washburn, John Bohannon, Jacques Streeter, and Cedrick Lang. And, we can't forget about guys CJ Cooper, Malcolm Moore, and Jalen Raglend who seem poised to have breakout years.

Coach Floyd had this to say about his team before the practice:

"Everything we did in the spring and summer was geared towards offense. Every single second has either been devoted towards individual player development or team offense. We have moved towards defending and incorporating the offense that we learned against the defense...We feel like we're more talented than we were a year ago...I'm excited about seeing who we're going to be, and where we're ultimately going to be. This year is going to serve us really well as we continue to move forward."

We'll continue to bring you coverage of the UTEP basketball team heading into the season opener against Oral Roberts on November 9th, but you can check out the team for yourself October 27th at the Don Haskins Center in Orange vs. White Intrasquad scrimmage.

Women's Basketball Gets 2013 Verbal Commit is reporting that the UTEP women's basketball team has picked up a verbal commitment for the 2013 season in Flint, MI forward Sparkle Taylor. According to the article by Eric Woodyard, Taylor led her team by averaging 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds a game as a junior. Woodyard also states that the forward said her decision was not concrete, but would likely stick.

The commitment is a solid one for the Miners who are coming off their best season in program history that saw them win 29 games and a Conference USA championship en route to an NCAA tournament appearance. Great work by coach Adams and her staff who continue to build a recruiting pipeline in the state of Michigan.

UTEP Soccer Upended versus #16 UCF

After knocking off Southern Miss Friday at University Field for the their third consecutive win, the UTEP soccer team fell 1-0 at home Sunday to nationally ranked UCF. The Knights' Jennifer Martin put up their only goal in the 79th minute, and the Miners were unable to capitalize on their 4 shots on goal in the defeat.

The loss drops UTEP to 10-7 overall, and 3-5 in Conference USA play, with only three games left on the season. The Miners will take on Rice and Houston on the 19th and 21st in Houston, before returning home to finish out the regular season schedule against Colorado College on the 26th.

The Conference USA tournament, which will be held at University Field, will begin on on October 31st, and will conclude on November 4th.

UTEP Volleyball Falls at SMU

The Miners' volleyball team was also in action on Sunday, but was unable to come up with a win in Dallas against the SMU Mustangs. After dropping the first two sets 25-15 and 25-22, the Miners rallied to pick up the third set 25-21, and were nearly able to force a fifth, but eventually fell 26-24 in the fourth.

The loss, which was their 3rd in the past 4 outings, drops the Miners to 11-10 overall, and 5-4 in Conference USA play. That match against SMU however rounded out a four game road swing, and the Miners will now return home for five straight beginning with Houston on Friday.


Despite Win, Tulsa Not Moving Up

Even though they continue to pick up wins, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane have not received any more votes in the college football top 25 polls. Over the last few weeks, the Hurricane have picked up 1-2 votes in both the USA Today and Coaches' Polls, and latest polls have them in the same spot. Tulsa picked up 2 votes in the Coaches', and only 1 vote in the USA Today poll, leaving them in 36th and 39th position, respectively. Tulsa is still the only Conference USA team to receive any votes.

Tulane Picks Up First Win

This shouldn't exactly be news, but it definitely is, especially considering this team will be in the Sun Bowl this week. The Tulane Green Wave picked up their first win of the season on Saturday, dropping dropping SMU 27-26 on a late touchdown pass by Ryan Griffin. The victory was not only the first this season, but was the first since September 17th, 2011 when the Wave knocked off UAB in Birmingham. With quarterback Ryan Griffin finally returning from injury, maybe the tides have changed. We'll get a chance to find out firsthand this Saturday when the Miners face Tulane in El Paso.


First BCS Poll Released

The first BCS poll of the 2012 season was released on Sunday, and as usual, its dominated by the SEC. Alabama checks in at no. 1, while Florida is no. 2, and Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame round out the top 5. LSU and South Carolina follow to make four SEC teams in the top 10.