Why Did UTEP Play Colorado State on Wednesday Night?
One question many people were asking last night was why UTEP was playing Colorado State in the first game of the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational? Clearly the Miners and Rams were the two best teams in the holiday tournament, and usually they play on the opposite side of the bracket. That way, fans are ensured they will meet in the championship game of the two-day tournament.
The reason behind the scheduling was that UTEP and Colorado State had entered into a four-game series that was to begin in El Paso this season. The problem was that Colorado State had limited availability, and needed to schedule their trip during the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational. According to the agreement, the Miners would next play the Rams twice in Fort Collins before the final game is played in El Paso. UTEP head coach Tim Floyd did not want to risk the possibility of losing to either Jacksonville State or Arkansas Pine Bluff on the first night of the tournament and not being able to play Colorado State in the championship game. Floyd's reasoning made a ton of sense. His Miners team is young and inexperienced, and early season losses to UT San Antonio and Stephen F. Austin made them wonder if they would be good enough to beat a Jacksonville State. Nobody knew that this UTEP team would improve so much over a short amount of time. Plus, imagine if the Miners had to sacrifice the first of their four game series with the Rams because one of the teams was upset on the first night of the tournament.
Coach Floyd chose to not risk missing an opportunity to play Colorado State. Unfortunately, UTEP lost the game 56-53 and now must play Pine Bluff at 5:30pm tonight at the Don Haskins Center.