The UTEP Miners (6-6) and the Tulane Green Wave (12-3) will square off tonight at Fogelman Arena in New Orleans, LA. The game is set to tip at 6:00 p.m. MT, and is not scheduled for any national television.
The Miners enter the contest off a narrow loss at Colorado State one week ago. They were able to keep it close against a tough opponent that has won 21 straight in their building, but were unable to come away with the win.
The Green Wave enter having won five in a row, including a big road win over Alabama about 10 days ago. While they seemed to be struggling a bit early on in the season, they have certainly found their stride heading into conference play.
The series currently stands at 7-3, with the Miners in the lead, having won 6 of 9 since joining Conference USA. The two teams last met in El Paso on February 11, 2012. The Miners won that one 54-52 in overtime. That last meeting in New Orleans came on January 21, 2012 with the Wave escaping 66-58 in that contest.
UTEP is led by sophomore guard/forward Julian Washburn who is currently averaging 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. He is coming off a 22 point effort against Colorado State, and is averaging nearly 17 points a game in his last five outings.
Senior guard Konner Tucker, who had a quiet night last week in Ft. Collins, is second in scoring for the Miners, averaging 12.6 points a game. Junior center John Bohannon is averaging 11.6 points and 6.4 rebounds a game, and senior point guard Jacques Streeter averages 9 points and 4.8 assists a contest.
Tulane is led by the explosive 1-2 punch of junior forward Josh Davis and sophomore point guard Ricky Tarrant. Davis is averaging 18.1 points and 10.3 rebounds a game, has already registered 8 double-doubles on the year, and has yet to score in single digits.
Ricky Tarrant is averaging 14.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game, and senior guard Jordan Callahan is the only other Wave player averaging in double figure scoring. He goes for 12.6 points a game.
The key in this game will ultimately be who is able to control the glass. Neither team is extremely explosive as the Wave average 67 points per game to the Miners' 63, but Tulane does hold an advantage in rebounding where they average 37 to UTEP's 29.
UTEP has done a much better job on the boards as of late, and that will need to continue if they want to have a chance to pick up the win here.
The Miners will also need to come out of the gates much faster than they have in other road contests this year, as they cannot continue to put themselves into a hole and try to fight their way back. That cost them last week against Colorado State, and if that is the case tonight it will cost them again.
Sooner or later this young Miners' team will break through and pick up a big win on the road. Last week they faced a team that has won 21 straight at home, and they nearly broke that streak. This week, they face the Green Wave who are 10-0 at home this season. Will tonight be the night? We'll find out soon.
Miners 64, Green Wave 62