It was a slow week last week, but with basketball season tipping off and football getting back on the field, its time to get the ball rolling again. Here's what is going on around UTEP sports, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.
Konner Tucker Breaks Wrist/Out 8-10 Weeks
It's official, Coach Floyd confirmed in his press conference this morning that graduate transfer Konner Tucker has a broken wrist, and will be out 8-10 weeks. Tucker seemed like the first pure shooter the Miners had in a while, and his services will certainly be missed.
Sophomore guard Jenzel Nash will miss the entire 2012-13 season due to a torn ACL suffered in the women's victory over St. Mary's on Saturday. Nash was a solid player in her freshman year, appearing in 32 contests and will certainly be missed by her team, but as Coach Adams said; "Part of sports is facing adversity. When someone goes down, someone else needs to step up". We wish Jenzel a speedy recovery.
The UTEP football team will take on the UCF Knights Saturday at 5:00 p.m. MT in the Sun Bowl. The Knights currently sit at 7-2 overall and 5-0 in Conference USA play, while the Miners are 2-7 and 1-4 in conference.
The two teams have met three previous times, with UCF holding a 2-1 advantage, but the home team winning all three games. The last time these two teams met was November 25, 2011. The Miners fell behind 24-0 in that one, and never recovered, losing 31-14.
Its still yet to be seen whether redshirt freshman Blaire Sullivan will start under center for the Miners, but he did look solid in his time against Houston, and probably deserves the nod. In any case, this will not be an easy one for the Miners, but is certainly one the can win.
Saturday, the UTEP women's basketball team was in action in an exhibition match against St. Mary's (TX), and much like the men, overcame a cold shooting night and a bit of rust to prevail in their first contest of the year, 69-60.
The Miners only shot 31% from the field on the night, but were led by four in double figures. Kayla Thornton led the way with 12 points and 10 rebounds, Anete Steinberga and Kristine Vitola each had 11 points and combined for 15 rebounds, and Kelli Willingham finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds.
The Miners will now prepare to open the regular season slate this week as they will host Loyola Marymount Saturday at 1:05 p.m. MT.
The UTEP volleyball team came up with a couple of much needed wins over the weekend, first dropping SMU Friday in four sets (25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16), and then taking out Tulsa on Sunday in 5 (25-17, 18-25, 25-16, 25-27, 15-11).
The Miners have now won three in a row, and four of their last five heading into the final week of the regular season. This week they will hit the road to take on Marshall and East Carolina, who both sit in the bottom half of the league.
If the Miners are able to come away with victories in those contests, they could potentially finish as high as 2nd in conference, and would at least wrap up the 4th seed for the Conference USA tournament. That will take place in Tulsa, OK beginning on the 16th. Good luck to the Miners as they head into the final week of the season.
AROUND CONFERENCE USA
Basketball Season Opens up This Week
All 12 Conference USA men's basketball teams will be in action this week, 4 of which will play contests against non-division 1 opponents. The highlight games of the opening weekend include Tulane at Georgia Tech on Friday, UCF at South Florida on Saturday, and Marshall at Villanova on Sunday. Thank God basketball season is here.
After weeks of floating around the others receiving votes, Tulsa missed their opportunity to sneak into the top 25 with a big road win at Arkansas. Despite leading for portion of the game, the Golden Hurricane fell 19-15. After the loss, they are now receiving 6 votes in the AP Poll and 4 in the USA Today Poll. That is good for 39th and 40th, respectively.
However, another C-USA team has made an appearance in the others receiving votes category. The UCF Knights received 15 votes in the AP Poll and 12 in the USA Today Poll, good for 33rd and 36th. Those two teams will face off next week (November 17th) in Tulsa, in what could be a Conference USA Championship preview.
East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden and Marshall signal caller Rakeem Cato have been named the Conference USA Co-Players of the Week this week after putting up some solid performances in their wins. Carden went 31-43 for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns in ECU's win over Houston, while Cato went 34-44 for 341 yards and 4 touchdowns in their win over Rice. Congrats to both. View the full Player of the Week Honors here.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
Last week, there were plenty of conversations going around that said that Alabama was so good, they could beat the Kansas City Chiefs, perhaps the NFL's worst team. Now this was all sparked by comments by South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier, but many others sided with him.
Despite the Tide being the undisputed number 1 team in the nation, in my opinion, there is absolutely no way they would beat anyone in the NFL. There is no way this team could match up with the size and speed of an NFL team, at skill positions, and on the line, and many NFL teams can't shut down Jamal Charles, what would he do to Bama?? What do you all think?