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The Dig: On to the Next Edition

The Dig is your source for news and information surrounding UTEP Sports, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.

The UTEP football team played well, but came up a bit short. Both basketball teams impressed, and volleyball prepares for the C-USA tourney. With that, here is a little more in depth look at what is going on around UTEP sports, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.


Vitola Named Conference USA Player of the Week

UTEP women's basketball player Kristine Vitola was named the Conference USA Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday after she posted the first double-double of her career in the Miners' season opening win over Loyola Marymount. Vitola went 5-7 from the field, and 10-11 from the line, en route to a 21 point, 12 rebound outing. She also had a block and a steal in 30 minutes of action. Congratulations to Kristine on the honor.

Women's Basketball Rolls in Season Opener

The UTEP women's basketball team started off the season on a high note, dropping Loyola Marymount 79-51 Saturday at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners shot 50% from the field in the first stanza, while holding Loyola to 23% and led 45-24 after 20 minutes.

The Miners cooled down a bit in the second half, but still outscored the Lions 34-27, on their way to the 28 point victory. Kristine Vitola led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and both Kelli Willingham and Kayla Thornton had solid outings, finishing with 15 points and 3 rebounds a piece.

Coach Adams had this say following the game:

"Our starting five came out and set a great tone for us for the day...We have a lot of areas we have to continue to improve upon but today it's a positive day. I'm happy with how we came out of the gates."

Up next, the Miners will take on Houston Baptist Friday at the Haskins Center, before taking on Arizona State, also at home, on Sunday. The win was a great start to the season for the Miners, let's hope they can keep that momentum going into this next week of the season.

Men's Basketball Prepares for First 'Big Game' of Season

After impressing fans with a 20 point season opening win over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, the UTEP men's basketball team now prepares to hit the road to take on nationally ranked Arizona. Both teams are 1-0 on the young season, but the Miners perhaps looked a bit more impressive as the Wildcats needed a late run to get by Charleston Southern 82-73.

Arizona was ranked 11/12 in the preseason top 25 polls, and maintained their 12th spot in the latest rankings. The game will start a stretch of extremely tough tests for the Miners as they will head to Orlando for the Old Spice Classic after that. The outcome of Thursday's game won't be the deciding factor in the outcome of this season, but a good showing could go a long way. Tip is slated for 8:00 p.m. ET, and the game will be carried by Fox Sports.

UTEP Volleyball Splits Pair Over Weekend

The UTEP volleyball team missed out on an opportunity to claim the third seed in the Conference USA Championships, splitting a pair of matches in the final weekend of the regular season. The Miners first knocked off ECU in Greenville in four sets (25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 25-20), before falling at Marshall in straight sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-16).

The loss dropped the Miners back into 5th place in the Conference USA standings with an overall 16-12 record, and a 10-6 conference mark. The will now head to Tulsa for the C-USA tourney beginning on Thursday.

As the five seed, the Miners will face UAB, and then the winner of the (1) Tulsa, (8) SMU match, should they advance. The Miners beat UAB at home early in the season in 3 sets, and split with both Tulsa and SMU. Good luck to the Miners as they enter the Conference USA tourney.

4/5 Star Basketball Recruit Has UTEP in Final Three

As pointed out by member TooLegitToQuit, lead writer Mike Grimala posted on his twitter account (@mikegrimala) yesterday that prized recruit Isaac Hamilton has his list of schools down to just UTEP, UNLV, and Baylor. Hamilton will be visiting UNLV during tonight's season opener against Northern Arizona. The Miners will play UNLV in the Don Haskins Center on December 17th.


Conference USA Football Players of the Week

After rushing for 184 yards and two scores in a win over Marshall, UAB sophomore running back Darrin Reaves was named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week. Tulsa senior defensive end Cory Dorris was named the defensive player of the week after he racked up 6 tackles, 2 sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception returned for touchdown in the Hurricane's win over Houston.

Conference USA Basketball Players of the Week

UCF senior forward Isaiah Sykes was named the C-USA Player of the Week after putting up a 26 point, 11 rebound, 8 assist performance in the Knights season opening win over South Florida. Tulsa freshman guard James Woodard was named the Freshman of the Week after putting up 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in their win LSU-Shreveport.

Conference USA in the Top 25

With the regular season in college football quickly coming to a close, still no Conference USA team is ranked in the top 25. Tulsa and UCF are still receiving votes, but despite both coming up with wins over the weekend, neither improved much.

Tulsa is now receiving 4 votes in the AP Poll and 8 in the USA Today Poll, good for 37th and 35th, and UCF received 16 and 18 votes, good for 30th and 32nd, respectively.

Also, after the first week of college basketball, Memphis is the only C-USA basketball team to either be ranked or receiving votes. They are ranked 17th in the AP, and 16th in the USA Today Polls.


Six Bowls Selected as 'Access Bowls' For CFB Playoffs

The BCS commissioners and Presidential Selection Committee settled on a pool of six sights for the semifinals of the college football playoffs that are set to begin in the 2014-15 season. It was also set the the highest rated conference champ from the "Group of Five", which is the Big East, Conference USA, the Mountain West, Sun Belt, and the MAC will also receive a spot in one of the bowls.

This means that the 'power 5' conference champions will receive and auto-bid to the access bowls, along with the top "Group of Five" champ, Notre Dame (if it qualifies), and five at large schools. The three bowl that have been selected so far as access bowls are the Rose, Sugar, and Orange, with the Fiesta, Cotton, and Chick-Fil-A Bowls being the next three top candidates. More details on the rest of the format are still to come.