UTEP Basketball Works To Finalize Schedule Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
It's no secret that schedule-making is one of the most daunting tasks of any UTEP athletics coaching staff. Throw a global pandemic and it makes an already uphill task that much more tough on the coaches.
And as social media updates have informed college basketball fans of non-conference schedules, most men's basketball fans wanted to know who the Miners were going to play for the upcoming 2020-21 season. Throwing the pandemic away from this—though, the coronavirus did cancel the 2020 NCAA Tournament—coaches still need to plan for the fall starting as planned.
UTEP head coach Rodney Terry joined the Voice of the Miners Jon Teicher on the Picks Up Podcast and talked about some of the challenges the staff has faced in assembling a solidified schedule.
"It's been pretty challenging," Terry told Teicher on the podcast. "Coach [Nick] Matson has done a great job of really trying to identify good games for us. We're in a unique situation where we have built-in games, home-and-home with NMSU and sitting their with a returning game at New Mexico. So you're talking about three really good games before you even start anything."
Though the schedule hasn't been made official by any means, Terry alluded to several opponents that the Miners were looking to finalize. Aside from the Aggies and Lobos, UTEP is looking to have Power-5 opponents like Texas A&M and Washington State on its schedule, along with Houston of the American Athletic Conference. According to Terry, the Miners are not joining a mid-season tournament like last year's Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
In addition, Terry discussed having two top mid-major opponents at the WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational: "We have two really good opponents that were league champions that will be coming to the [Sun Bowl Invitational] Tournament. That field is going to be very competitive," Terry said.
For Conference USA, reports have come up about how the league will reconsider its structure and could divide the conference into two divisions, like football. Reports have already surfaced on how C-USA will do away with the Bonus Play system as well.
"Very good non-conference schedule that will prepare us for a good conference slate," Terry said.