For the first time in the last two-to-three seasons, no one knows what to expect out of the UTEP basketball team when they take the floor for their annual Orange and White Scrimmage.
Tim Floyd has spent the last three weeks or so trying to figure out how to replace a high percentage of scoring and rebounding from back-to-back twenty win seasons, all while piecing together an identity for his new group of Miners.
Here are five things to look out for in Saturday's scrimmage.
The DA Factor
Dominic Artis wasn't recruited to average 18 points or more per game, or be the Miners main scoring option. But what he will be asked to do is run the show, and make everyone on his team better.
Artis has never been a big time scorer, although he does have the potential to rack up big numbers with a nice shooting night. His job will be to distribute the rock, lock down the opposing point guard, and be a leader this team will need.
What is more intriguing is the fact that UTEP now has a true point guard with high IQ, and elite dribble penetration skills that will help avoid stagnant sequences of offense.
Ken DeWeese said on our podcast that the coaches are going to get "let their horses" run in this scrimmage, so we will get to see the raw ability DA has and what most of us here on MR have been raving about since he signed.
Artis' IQ, his ability to create offense for others, and his ability to knock down the open jumper should be on full display in this scrimmage.
Will it be a guard, guard(s), or will a few big men show they can rip down rebounds consistently?
Rebounding and scoring numbers will be inflated due to a short bench and high minutes certain guys will see in this scrimmage. The thing to look for is the willingness and grit to rebound, and obviously who is doing it on a consistent basis.
Look for Lee Moore, Terry Winn, and Earvin Morris to be those guys right off that bat. But Hooper Vint, Christian Romine, Paul Thomas, and Brodricks Jones will all have to show those genes for game film review purposes.
Rebounding is UTEP's biggest question, and while it won't be fully answered after Saturday. This game-like setting could possibly set the tone for a consistent dirty worker to be found.
No lineups have been announced, but you have to figure Brodricks Jones, and Paul Thomas will be on opposite ends.
This could set up a nice match up with two of UTEP's four star freshmen forwards who have had strong starts in October practice.
You can also throw Terry Winn into this ring of fire at the forward spot, and even Trey Touchet with the mixture of UTEP's two JUCO transfers, and returning guards Omega Harris and Earvin Morris.
Again, the scrimmage probably won't define minutes or playing time. But I'm sure CTF will be looking at who is out there playing hard, and doing all the right things to earn himself some minutes in those two crowded areas.
Which lineup mix scores and flows the best?
Which lineup mix defends the best?
Which lineup mix is the most athletic and explosively efficient in the open floor?
Do any dynamic duos or trios emerge?
The actual teams are complete enigmas, but I'm sure at one point most of these guys have been on the same five during October practices in drills and scrimmages.
So the thing I'm looking for is where does the chemistry lie within the new set of guards, or which big's play well together when it comes to protecting the rim and closing out possessions with rebounds?
In last year's scrimmage Hooper Vint and Cedrick Lang showed they could be a great tandem, which transferred over later in the C-USA schedule at times.
With so many new variables and possibilities, this is an important area that needs to develop in this game like setting.
Dunk contest and three-point shootout
Time for the fun part.
I think Omega Harris defends his dunk title, and Dominic Artis wins the three point shootout.
Jake Flaggert surprised us with his hops in the dunk contest a few seasons ago. And Hooper Vint torched the nets last year.
Who is going to be the jaw dropper this year?
Who's your favorite to win the Slam Dunk Challenge at Saturday's FREE Orange & White Scrimmage? #minerstrong pic.twitter.com/Mw5IsAVGjF— UTEP Miners (@UTEPAthletics) October 22, 2015
What do you think Miner fans? Who will win? FREE Orange & White Scrimmage Saturday at 1:30 in the DHC! #minerstrong pic.twitter.com/sbSksqPP6E— UTEP Miners (@UTEPAthletics) October 22, 2015