UTEP Will Need to Rebound Better in Rematch Against NMSU
As the Miners prepare for their much anticipated rematch against NMSU tomorrow night at the Don Haskins Center, a huge key will be the battle of the boards. UTEP was dominated on the glass in their first battle against the Aggies last month and they finished the game -10 in rebounding (39-29). If Johnny McCants, Donnie Tillman, and Teddy Allen once again have their way against the UTEP post players, Miners head coach Joe Golding will have his work cut out for him.
The encouraging news is that the orange and blue has outrebounded their opponents in three of their first six games this season, and they won all of those contests, including their most recent game against Florida A&M. When you look closely at UTEP's post players, Tydus Verhoeven is the only experienced big man on the roster. Freshmen Kevin Kalu, Jamari Sibley, and sophomore Bonke Maring are hard to rely on for rebounds, because of their lack of game minutes. Unlike Kalu and Maring, Sibley plays more like a 6-8 guard than he does a forward.
No matter what happens in the paint tomorrow night, the Miners will need another strong defensive effort in order to have a chance to even the Battle of I-10. UTEP's pressure allowed them to force 11 Aggie turnovers in the first half as they stayed within five points after 20 minutes of basketball.
UTEP fans can breathe a sigh of relief since Souley Boum will return to the lineup after missing the last two games due to COVID. With the team's leading scorer back in the lineup, Coach Golding will have his top offensive option ready to even the series. Teammate Keonte Kennedy joined us on SportsTalk yesterday and he mentioned that there is no love lost between these two teams. In fact, Kennedy compared the rivalry to what he experienced as a freshman when his Xavier Musketeers faced off with Cincinnati.
The Miners will need a balanced scoring effort against the Aggies. Newcomers Sibley and Jorell Saterfield have both flashed signs of improved offensive production over the last few games and they will both need strong games tomorrow night. UTEP and NMSU tips off at 6 p.m. and our coverage begins 30-minutes earlier with the Longhorn Distributing Countdown to Tipoff. Jon Teicher and Steve Yellen will call the action from the Haskins Center. Adrian Broaddus and Sal Montes will host MinerTalk following the broadcast.