UTEP Men’s Basketball Has Earned Sellouts for Final Two Games
The Miners' men's basketball season continued its remarkable resurgence this weekend with a dominant win in Miami against Florida International. UTEP shot 67.3% for the game, their fifth best shooting percentage in program history. They have put themselves in great position to receive a first round bye in the C-USA Tournament in Birmingham, and have a huge showdown coming up at 6 p.m. Thursday night against Old Dominion.
A win over the Monarchs would put the Miners in the driver's seat for third place in the conference standings. The Miners wrap up their season at 1 p.m. on Sunday against Charlotte. For a team that has won 11 out of their last 13 games, these final two home contests should be sellouts.
"I’ve always said that teams have to earn crowds," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said after the win over FIU Saturday night. "I think we have earned it at this point. This team is playing better than last year’s team at any point right now. They are playing together, they are playing inspired, and they are playing Miner basketball. We are playing for third place Thursday night against a team that has really, really improved in the last two weeks of the season. They are scoring at a high clip, a great defensive club and it will be a real tough test for us."
The Miners have seen a slow uptick of fans at the Don Haskins Center since they started turning around their season. The team drew just shy of 6,700 and 7,000 fans during their last two home wins against Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss. However, UTEP has won all four road games since their last home game, and the team has performed the greatest in-season turnaround in the history of the program. Suddenly, the Miners have become the most dangerous team in C-USA heading into the postseason tournament.
To put this into perspective, the Miners were 2-13 on January 7th and they had an RPI of 350 out of 351. Now, they are two wins away from finishing the regular season with a .500 overall record. So many fans were bailing on the Miners during their losing streak, but now they have a chance to rally one more time during their final homestand. I hope they do just that and give this team the kind of crowd at the Don Haskins Center that they deserve.