Its been a roller coaster of a season this year for the men's basketball team. Hopes and expectations were high coming in, and emotions have been all over the place, but as it stands today, can the season still be salvaged?
Flashback to October 2013. The class of 2014 gets started with a bang as the Miners get a verbal from 6'5 four star wing Chris Sandifer. Six months later, the Miners had snagged three star point guard Shaquille Carr and four star shooting guard Marqywell Jackson.
Unfortunately for the Miners, none of those highly touted recruits would make their way onto the UTEP campus. Coach Floyd and his staff still fielded a solid recruiting class, and one that would have an immediate impact on the 2014-15 season, but there's no question those who didn't make it would've only added more depth and talent to a team already expected to compete for a conference crown.
Despite the off-season issues in recruiting, the Miners still entered the season as a contender in C-USA. And that wasn't just inside of El Paso, the conference's coach picked UTEP to finish second, behind only Louisiana Tech.
NOVEMBER 14TH, 2014 - UTEP 65, Washington State 52
A tougher opening match than usual, but the Miners were up for the challenge. Devontae Lacy had 15 points, but was held to just 3-12 shooting, while Vince Hunter, Earvin Morris and more had big performances. Just the start the Miners needed.
DECEMBER 6TH, 2014 - New Mexico State 71, UTEP 64
Coming off a championship game loss to Washington, and a tough road loss to Colorado St. (both of whom would be nationally ranked), the Miners would cap a three game losing streak to an undermanned NMSU team.
JANUARY 8TH, 2015 - Louisiana Tech 58, UTEP 45
After having won 6 of 7, with the only loss coming to then #3 Arizona, the Miners let a prime opportunity to get a leg up in C-USA go by with an uninspired home loss to La Tech.
JANUARY 24TH, 2015 - Marshall 78, UTEP 71
Following one of the worst shooting efforts, perhaps in the history of the program, in a loss to Western Kentucky, the Miners were outplayed in a game against a Marshall team that entered the contest at 4-15 overall.
FEBRUARY 26TH, 2015 - Louisiana Tech 77, UTEP 60
With some tough losses behind them, and riding a seven game win streak, the Miners entered Ruston with thoughts of emerging as the favorite to claim the Conference USA crown. What actually happened was nothing of the sort.
FEBRUARY 28TH, 2015 - Southern Miss 63, UTEP 60
With a 24 point lead with just over 10 minutes to go, the Miners allowed a 32-8 run over an 8 minute span to perhaps the worst team in the league, resulting in the most disappointing loss yet.
March 4TH, 2015
With two games left in the regular season, and the Conference USA tourney looming in just days, is all lost for the 2014-15 season, or can it still be salvaged?
There's no question that this year has quickly gone from one of the most promising, to one of the most disappointing seasons that I can ever remember. There's so much talent on the team, and what should be plenty of senior leadership, yet the consistency has just never been found.
If we're being completely objective, the most likely finish to the season is a couple wins at home, a pre-championship game exit in the C-USA tourney, and a long wait next Sunday afternoon for a call to take part in the NIT that likely never comes. But, of course, its impossible for us to be completely objective.
Regardless of everything we've seen, this team still has the pieces to put a run together, as shown on a couple occasions this year. Things will have to change though, and quickly. This team has got find itself and decide what it wants out of the season.
One word/term that needs to be figured out and has been the big knock on this team all year is consistency. But if a team hasn't showed it enough in big games now that we sit here in early in March is it too late?
No doubt this team has shown they can be "consistent" during the seven game win streak and have the most talented roster in the league, but I just feel the confidence of this team was shot down in rough way last week.
If the attitude for this weekend's games are that of the C-USA Tournament starts now and they come out and put both North Texas and Rice away with a little nasty, then this team has figured it out from a mental aspect and could be a major factor in the tourney, but if we see slow starts parlayed with rough stretches of minutes this weekend, I don't like the odds stacked up against them in Birmingham. Tough to turn something around like consistency that hasn't been there consistently enough all year.
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