Alright everyone, we've almost completed the summer long series that is the Ultimate Miners' Bracket. Unfortunately, Renzo is out of the country, and won't be able to post for a couple weeks, so I'm gonna have to try and fill in as best as I can.
The UMB consolation match features the 2 seed - 1964 Texas Western Miners, versus the 5 seed - 1992 UTEP Miners. Of course, that 64' squad was led by Jim Barnes and his 30 and 20 a game, while the 92' Miners were led by guys like Maxey, Van Dyke, Stewart, Rivera, Melvin, and Davis.
The 1992 Miners don't exactly have the size that the 89' team that knocked off 64' in the Final Four did, but they still are big, and certainly have plenty of experienced guys throughout. This one should be an interesting matchup. You all make the call.
(2) 1964 Texas Western Miners
|1964 TEAM ROSTER||YR||FG%||AST||BLK||STL||RPG||PPG|
(5)1992 UTEP Miners
|1992 UTEP Miners||YR||FG%||AST||BLK||STL||RPG||APG|
|David Van Dyke||SR||54.9||30||116||52||6.4||13.9|
|1992 TEAM STATS||FG%||AST||BLK||STL||RPG||PPG|
|1964 TEAM STATS ||FG%||FT%||RPG||APG||BLK||STL||PPG|
|Overall Record||Conference Record||Record vs. NCAA Tournament Opponents|
|1964 Texas Western Miners||25-3||N/A||2-1 (split the season series with the Arizona State Sun Devils and beat the Wichita State Shockers)|
|1992 UTEP Miners||27-7||12-4 T-1st WAC||3-3 (wins against NMSU, Texas, and BYU and losses against BYU twice and NMSU)|
Notable Wins and Losses:
- Swept New Mexico State Aggies
- Lost to Washington Huskies in the second game of the season
- Beat #5 Wichita State Shockers on the road
- Beat Denver and Clemson to win the Sun Carnival Classic
- Win streak of 16 games
- Split the season series with good New Mexico St Aggies team
- Beat Northern Iowa and Texas to win the Sun Carnival Classic
- Beat Washington on the road by 5
- Beat Colorado State and New Mexico in the WAC Tournament before losing to BYU in the Championship
NCAA Tournament Results:
In 1964, only 25 teams received NCAA Tournament invites and 7 received first round byes. The remaining 18 teams battled for what we would call the "Sweet Sixteen" today. The Miners played in one of the opening round play-in games against the Texas A&M Aggies and won by just 6 points. In that game, Bad News posted 42 points and 19 rebounds for the victorious Miners. In the round of sixteen, the Miners drew a tough Kansas State Wildcats team and lost by just 4 points after Barnes fouled out with only 4 points. The Miners then beat the Creighton Blue Jays in the regional consolation game and Kansas State would go all the way to the Final Four. Barnes recorded 61 points, 28 rebounds, and perhaps most importantly 13 personal fouls in his 3 NCAA Tournament games in 1964.
The 1992 Miners were given a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament after losing the WAC Championship in heart-breaking fashion. They edged the Evansville Purple Aces in a defensive struggle in the first round for the right to play the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Watch the end of that one here. In yet another connection to the 1966 team, the 1992 Miners played both Kansas and Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament. Both teams beat the Jayhawks, but while the 1966 Miners beat the Bearcats by 2, the 1992 Miners lost to the Bearcats by 2 ending their Final Four dreams. Cincinnati would go on to beat the Memphis State Tigers 88-57 to advance to the Final Four in Minneapolis where they would lose to Michigan by 4.
Last week we saw the 64' Miners fall against an experienced team with great size in the 1989 Miners. And, the 92' Miners also came up a bit short, against the Ultimate Miners' Bracket favorites (the 1966 Miners), in the semifinal round.
The match this week isn't too much different from the last for 64', as it will come down to whether or not Jim Barnes would be able to have his way. In 92', gone are the likes of Greg Foster and Antonio Davis, but still around is Van Dyke, along with Maxey, Davis, and others.
A couple of stats that would certainly come into play, and would likely decide this match, would be rebounding and blocks. While the 89' Miners that knocked of 64' last week had a great interior defensive presence (189 total blocks, 5.7 pg), the 92' Miners were arguable even better (217 total blocks, 6.4 pg).
The rebounding advantage obviously goes to 64' (50-36), as it likely would no matter who they faced. And, while Barnes was obviously a huge part of that, averaging 20 a game, the rest of the team still pulled down another 30. So, even if Barnes was kept somewhat in check on the boards, the attention that he would draw would likely still allow his team to maintain an advantage on the boards.
Both of these teams have done extremely well to get this point. We've had some great teams in the history of UTEP basketball, and these here, even without a bracket, are easily in the conversation when talking about the best Miner teams ever.
That said, it'll be extremely tough to decide between these two teams, especially because in a sense they are polar opposites. One heavily relied on their star, and the other relied on a number of different guys in both the front and back courts. But, a decision must be made. Time for you all to make the call.