UTEP Basketball
Last season was quite a challenge for the UTEP basketball team to say the least.  The squad, which  predominantly consisted of freshmen, finished the season under .500 with a record of 15-17.  UTEP made it to the Quarterfinal round of the C-USA Tournament before losing to Memphis. 

Things should be different this season, as the team will have a year of experience playing together, and Coach Floyd has a solid recruiting class ready to make their mark when the season gets underway.  UTEP released their 2012-2013 schedule today, and one word comes to mind, grueling!  The Miners will face numerous early season challenges.

Their exhibition schedule will consist of Southeast Oklahoma State on November 3.  Then the real fun begins as UTEP will host Oral Roberts, a 27 win team last season, and then travel to Arizona within the first week of the regular season.  The Miners will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Orlando when they travel to the Old Spice Classic, where they will face Oklahoma.

UTEP will face either Clemson or Gonzaga on the second day of the Old Spice Classic, and will meet Davidson, Marist, Vanderbilt, or West Virginia in the tournament finale on Nov. 25.  This team will be tested early in the season by some elite competition and fans will see what they are made of.  A challenging schedule is the only way to go, the team must be ready for a solid run in C-USA play and a potential NCAA Tournament run.

The Miners will then return home to face long time I-10 rival NMSU, another NCAA Tournament team from last season.  By the way, the games that I just mentioned will take place in the month of November, and this may end up being the most challenging one month span that the team has ever seen.  Don't worry it doesn't get any easier in December as UTEP will face Idaho, UNLV, and Oregon.  The good news is, at least all of these games are at home.

The Miners will end the year by facing Arkansas Pine- Bluff, and Nebraska in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Invitational December 22-23, and they will face Cameron in an exhibition game on December 28.  The new year has the Miners traveling to former WAC rival Colorado State, and facing Houston Baptist at home.  How could we forget conference play which gets underway as the team travels to Tulane on January 9?

Overall the Miners will be facing 17 teams that finished last seaon ranked in the top 80 of the RPI.  Coach Floyd said, "Our fans wanted a great schedule and they've got it, we did this because we want to get this place back to where it was.  We wanted a strong RPI in the event that we didn't finish first in our league.”  Some may argue that having an extremely difficult schedule can be a double edged sword.

My philosophy has always been, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.  The only way for us to find out if UTEP can hold their own against quality opponents, is for the Miners to play a challenging schedule.  Basketball fans are in for a treat!



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