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What we know (or think we know) about UTEP Basketball's first exhibition game

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A quick breakdown on the Miners' upcoming exhibition to kick off the 2016-17 season.

SE Oklahoma State has size, and could test UTEP with it

The Savage Storm have three players 6'9 or taller on their roster, all three did not record a minute last season, but that's more than what UTEP has on their roster size wise.

They also have some good size at their forward and guard spots, with guys over 6'4 and 200 pounds which could also test UTEP's physicality.

Last Saturday's scrimmage saw some unexpected physicality from both the Orange and White squads, but can that translate into what could be a size matchup tilted towards the visitors?

Either way, whether their big men actually (can) play or not, we will see how UTEP responds to having very thin depth in terms of size, and how they will rebound against a team you would expect the Miners to outrebound even being the smaller team on-paper.

Floyd kinda, sorta tipped his hand in UTEP's possible starting lineup

After last Saturday's scrimmage, Tim Floyd mentioned Matt Willms, Omega Harris, and Paul Thomas' performances as things they will use to "formulate what they want to do with their lineups early in the season."

So it's almost safe to say UTEP's starting five on Sunday could look like this.

  • Dominic Artis-PG
  • Omega Harris-SG
  • Terry Winn-F
  • Paul Thomas-F
  • Matt Willms-C

After Artis, the first point guard off the bench should be Trey Touchet, with Jake Flaggert coming off the bench for either Winn or Harris.

Of course, Kelvin Jones will spell Matt Willms at center whose minutes will certainly be something to watch.

Now the rest is a complete enigma.

Deon Barrett is presumed as the third point guard, while Adrian Moore and Tim Cameron could fight for the ninth man (SG or 3-guard spot) at least early on in the season before Floyd shortens the bench for conference play.

Right now, UTEP looks to have at least an eight man rotation set with UTEP's freshman guards fighting to crack, and extend UTEP's possible rotation.

Otherwise, it appears UTEP's initial starting lineup for the early part of the season could already be figured out. The missing and plug-in spot candidates need strong performances in order to earn minutes.

UTEP is behind the eight ball in some spots, and it could be exposed

Tim Floyd didn't sugarcoat anything after Saturday's up-and-down scrimmage, saying it was way too soon for a scrimmage like that, and that this team is far from being a polished commodity last week.

The effort, physicality, and passion were there, the execution level outside of the Miners' returners who shined needs plenty of work.

Floyd and the players were really eager to get in the film to breakdown Saturday's scrimmage in order to improve ahead of their first exhibition, meaning this past week of practice was really, really important.

I'd be surprised if UTEP runs SE Oklahoma State out of the gym with ease as expected with so much to tune up in a small window of time before things start for real. It really makes you wonder how much UTEP could struggle in trying to find lineups that work, and role players who can produce.

What we do know for sure: Harris, Artis, and Winn will eat

Every game this season we all know what to expect from the Miners 'Big returning 3'.

This is an opportunity for Artis and Harris to continue their chemistry growth of knowing where each likes to score and shoot, and possibly get others involved based off of any defensive adjustments that are thrown at them.

For Winn it's all about refining the spots where he is able to score from.

Winn showed off an improved jumper, but had a little trouble trying to score inside during the scrimmage which is a minor blip. This is a game in where I would expect T. Winn to take over with his improved, and controlled physicality, and find different ways to score from either the wing or with his back to the basket.

All three will draw oh's and aw's, but the big test is how can all three collectively make their teammates better against inferior competition.

Willms' minutes will be something to watch

Willms looked like a player who has been unable to practice or condition during the scrimmage, but was still effective in stretches. Give him time to get himself right, and he could be the Matt Willms UTEP needs to compete once January rolls around.

No one on the roster needs these exhibition games more than Willms who is trying to work his way back into game shape after an almost two year layoff.

Does Floyd roll the dice and let Willms play 15 minutes or more, or does Kelvin Jones get the much needed experience of extended minutes in an exhibition?

Something definitely keep an eye on Sunday afternoon.