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Ultimate Miners Bracket: (6) 1989 Miners vs (11) 1975 Miners

Tim Hardaway leads the '89 Miners in his senior year against UTEP's only NCAA Tournament team from the period of 1971-1983. It's one of the most offensively efficient Miner teams of all time versus one of the toughest, stingiest Miner teams of all time in this week's UMB.

1989 UTEP Miners
26-7 (11-5, WAC Tied for 2nd)

Tim Hardaway (SR)
Antonio Davis (JR)
Greg Foster (JR)
Prince Stewart (SO)
Jerry Johnson (JR)
David Van Dyke (FR)
Mark McCall (SO)
Johnny Melvin (FR)
Arlandis Rush (JR)
Francis Ezenwa (SO)
Rodney McKoy (JR)
Merle Heimer (SO)

UTEP Miners 51.5 66.9 36.9 13.8 5.7 6.5 78.4
Opponents 44.2 65.3 34.0 11.8 1.9 4.8 67.2

The 1989 Miners set school records for points and field goal percentage. Hardaway received the Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award for Best College Student under 6 feet tall. Timmy also set a school record with 93 steals in a season. The Miners closed out the 1980's ranked 7th in the nation in winning percentage for the decade, behind only North Carolina, UNLV, Georgetown, DePaul, Temple, and Syracuse.

-Swept New Mexico State
-Lost to Indiana on the road by 18
-Beat Maryland in the Sun Carnival Classic Championship Game
-Beat Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado State to win the 1989 WAC Tournament held in Salt Lake City
-The 1989 Miners played 5 games against eventual NCAA Tournament teams going 3-2. Three of those games came against the Colorado State Rams whom they split the season series with and beat in the WAC Championship game. The other two games featured a loss to Indiana and a win against South Carolina State.

The 1989 Miners earned a 7-seed in the NCAA Tournament and drew the 10-seeded LSU Tigers in the first round. The Miners eliminated the Tigers thanks in large part to Tim Hardaway's 31 points and 9 assists. The Miners ran into Bob Knight's powerful Indiana Hoosiers again in the second round and were blown out by the Hoosiers again, despite great games from Hardaway and Foster. Indiana would lose to Seton Hall in the next round, the eventual National Runner-up. The rest of 1989's Final Four included Champion Michigan, Illinois, and Duke.

1975 UTEP Miners
20-6 (10-4, 2nd in WAC)

Gary Brewster (JR)
Jake Poole (SO)
Ed Lynum (SR)
John Saffle (JR)
Tom Pauling (SO)
Charles Draper (SO)
Ron Jones (SO)
Rudy Alvarez (SR)
Calvin Hale (FR)
James Edmonson (SO)
Ted Williams (JR)
Cliff Russell (FR)

UTEP Miners 45.0 72.4 36.8 ?? ?? ?? 64.2
Opponents 42.5 67.5 33.7 ?? ?? ?? 57.3

When one thinks of the "glory years" of UTEP Men's Basketball, it's usually either the 1960's or the 1980's. Few people ever talk about the 1970's, probably because so many of the 70's Miner teams failed to make the NCAA Tourney. Only the 1970 and this 1975 team were able to go dancing. The '75 Miners were led by Junior forward Gary Brewster, who scored 24% of the Miners' points and nabbed 23% of their rebounds. Brewster played the season with a nagging back injury that only added to the tough as nails reputation of this squad. The Miners committed 614 fouls in the 1975 season, which stood as a school record at the time. The Miners also led the nation in scoring defense for the 3rd consecutive season under Haskins.

-Beat Creighton in Creighton Classic in Omaha
-Split the season series with New Mexico State (in neither contest did the losing team score more than 41 points)
-Beat Miami of Ohio and Texas A&M to win the Sun Carnival Classic
-Split the season series with Top 25 ranked Arizona and Arizona State
-The 1975 Miners played 6 games against eventual NCAA Tournament teams and went 4-2 in those contests. They beat New Mexico State, Creighton, Texas A&M, and Arizona State, and lost to New Mexico State and Arizona State.

This was the first year the NCAA Tournament expanded to 32 teams. The Miners were one of the last teams in and drew Bob Knight's top-seeded Hoosiers. Notice how often Haskins and Knight played each other back in the day? Just as would happen 14 years later in 1989, the Miners were blown out by a more potent Hoosier team. The 1975 Final Four featured Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville, and John Wooden's 10th and final National Championship team at UCLA.

Again we see another matchup of a team with the benefit of a 3-point line and one without. This would definitely be an interesting matchup in the paint. '89's taller combo of Foster and Davis might have their hands full with the hard-nosed trio of Brewster, Lynum, and Saffle, all of whom were 6'8. The matchup would feature a defense that led the nation in defensive scoring against an offense that was one of the Miners' most efficient with Hardaway running the point.

The key for me in this matchup is 1989's #10. Hardaway played lights out in his senior season for the Miners and it's hard to imagine 1975 sophomore Jake Poole containing him, even with the advantage of a few inches in length. The 1989 Miners also were great at blocking shots and that might mean trouble for an undersized '75 team. But of course, it is the votes that decides which of these two teams advances to the next round to play last week's victorious 1984 team.

The Ultimate Miner Bracket moves right along into late May. Here are what the second round matchups look like as of right now. Next week features a dandy of a game between the two most recent NCAA Tournament teams. Can't wait for that one...

(1) 1966 Texas Western Miners
(9) 1987 UTEP Miners

(5) 1992 UTEP Miners
(13) 1963 Texas Western Miners

(3) 1984 UTEP Miners
(6) 1989 UTEP Miners or (11) 1975 UTEP Miners (This week's matchup)

(7) 2010 UTEP Miners or (10) 2005 UTEP Miners
(2) 1964 UTEP Miners or (15) 1985 UTEP Miners