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Old Dominion at UTEP Preview/Open Thread

Despite the loss to UTSA, Old Dominion's RPI is still the sub 50's so a huge chance for the Miners to keep the steam moving forward in a big way is still in tact.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

UTEP Miners

Current Record: 17-7, 9-3 C-USA

Projected Starters:

Omega Harris, Fr, G, 6.8 ppg, 24 steals

C.J. Cooper, Sr, G, 7.6 ppg, 3.2 apg

Julian Washburn, Sr, G, 9.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Vince Hunter, So, F, 16.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg

Cedrick Lang, Sr, F, 10.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg

Team Stats

Points Per Game 70.0
Opponents 63.5
FG% .472
Opponents% .416
3-point% .367
Opponents% .33
Free Throw% .646
Rebounds Per Game 34.7
Rebounding Margin +1.1
Assists Per Game 13.9
Steals Per Game


Despite the rebounding differential, and second chance points allowed, UTEP kept battling, and stuck to their offensive identities for a nice win against a talented Charlotte team on Thursday.

One of the biggest takeaways for me during this five game winning streak has been the offensive play and rise of leadership by C.J. Cooper.

"Earlier I wasn't playing too good." Cooper said of his slow offensive start, "I had to step it up and I think these last few games we've been playing I've been playing to how I wanted to play. Coach Floyd has challenged me and I got to be a leader out there, I'm a senior and I want to help my teammates and get wins."

And helping his teammates and getting wins is what Cooper has been doing with his second best in the C-USA assist-to-turnover ratio. He has only committed three turnovers in his last 191 minutes, and moved into third place all-time on UTEP's career three point makes list.

The rebounding disparity probably troubled a few fans, but Tim Floyd liked the way the Miners responded by executing on the other end and forcing their way to the free throw line 23 times.

"We made more free throws than they attempted," Floyd said. "It's always a big stat. It just adds another scorer to the box score. It makes up for the baskets that we gave up on the offensive board. They crushed us on the glass. The fact that we got to the line gave us an opportunity to go back and go play."

The Miners will have to clean up their rebounding issues if possible in 24-hours or less, Old Dominion pulled in 10 offensive rebounds in the first half against UTSA Thursday something Vince Hunter took accountability for and wants to see cleaned up.

"We definitely have to work on that." Hunter said of the rebounding numbers, "That was a big emphasis in practice, we have to rebound. We knew these guys were going to come out physical, me, Hooper, and Cedrick have to do a better job of rebounding."

While the rebounding issues kept Charlotte in the game, UTEP's methodical, efficient offensive attack has helped cancel out the lack of usual depth UTEP has to protect the paint on the defensive end.

Five Miners scored in double figures Thursday, and UTEP has shot over 45 percent from the field in five out of their last six games.

"I feel like our offense is getting better," Vince Hunter said, "We're just swinging the ball and everybody is getting the shots that they want and they like, and we're putting up numbers right now."

UTEP will face the best defensive team statistically in the conference Saturday night.

Though sorta like UTEP's offense of late, UTSA methodically penetrated with the dribble drive, and threw it on the block as they shot 51.1 percent from the field with 30 of their points coming from inside the paint.

Good news of sorts for UTEP as Coach Floyd said Matt Willms will have the cast the removed and begin rehab drills, but his exact return timetable is still uncertain.

The Miners will shoot for some program milestones Saturday, UTEP is looking for their fifth straight home win for the first time since 2010-11, one more conference win gives them their 100th C-USA win, and a W will put Coach Floyd at 99 wins during UTEP his head coaching tenure.

Old Dominion Monarchs

Current Record: 18-5, 7-4 C-USA

Projected Starters:

Aaron Bacote, 6'4, Jr, G, 10.8 ppg, .852 FT%

Trey Freeman, 6'2, Jr, G, 16.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Jordan Baker, 6'2, So, G, 3.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg

Jonathan Arledge, 6'9, Sr, F, 8.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg

Richard Ross, 6'6, Sr, F, 8.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Team Stats

Points Per Game 65.9
Opponents 58.0
FG% .430
Opponents% .407
3-point% .329
Opponents% .318
Free Throw% .685
Rebounds Per Game 36.3
Rebounding Margin +5.4
Assists Per Game 13.2
Steals Per Game


ODU blew multiple 10 point leads from late in the first half and into the second half, and shot 8/30 from behind the three point line in their disappointing loss at UTSA Thursday night.

The Monarchs owned the paint in the first half with 18 second chance points, and saw 16 of their 37 first half points come from inside the paint.

But UTSA went with a vicious 2-3 zone that forced ODU out of the paint, made them a jump shooting team (outside of Freeman they are not), and frustrated their decision making with five second half turnovers after they had only turned it over once in the first half.

One of the best additions to any C-USA roster is Trey Freeman who has scored 20 points or more seven times this season, and added 19 on Thursday via 8/16 shooting from the floor.

Using a deep rotation, ODU has five players that average more than seven points, and three that average five rebounds per game.

One of the most impressive notches on their stat sheet is the +5.4 rebounding margin they have on the season.

Jonathan Arledge, Richard Ross, and Denzell Taylor who comes off the bench, are the trio of players who average five rebounds per game. Arledge will be a tricky match up for UTEP due to his inside-out game where he has attempted 40 threes on the season, and shoots 44 percent from the field.

ODU like UTEP is a pressure, and shot altering type of defensive team. Ross leads ODU With 34 blocks, and seven different Monarchs have at least 10 steals on the season.

They only shoot 33 percent from behind the three point line, and 32 percent during conference play while dropping their last four conference road games this season.

Interesting to see how UTEP goes about their defensive strategy, and particularly their plan to protect the paint against the aggressive Monarch big men.

This could be a true grind out every possession, defensive slug fest played in the 50's which would favor ODU who is 10-0 when they hold their opponent between 50-59 points this season.

One team is peaking, while the other is allowing their road woes to dash their hopes at an at-large bid, and top spot in the C-USA Tournament.

A-ROD's opening line: Pick em'

Game Information
Who? Old Dominion Monarchs at UTEP Miners
Date/Time Thursday, February 14th, 7:05 p.m. Mountain Time
Location Don Haskins Center, El Paso, Texas


Play-by-Play Available on the TuneIn App, or 92.3 FM In El Paso In English, Spanish 1650 AM In El Paso Also available on the TuneIn App.

Series Record UTEP Leads 1-0