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City, along with players and coaches, hope to come out on top of Conference USA Tournament


POSTED: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 1:33pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 5:54pm

El Paso is once again gearing up for the Conference USA Basketball Tournament.  It is back in town after its successful outing in 2011. 

The City of El Paso, along with UTEP men and women's basketball teams are hoping to come out on to.

UTEP men's basketball coach Tim Floyd said his team is ready to get on the court.

"This is a time of year where hope is in the air for everybody in college basketball," Floyd said.

UTEP Senior Associate Athletic Director Chris Park said the tournament is a great opportunity to showcase UTEP and El Paso.

"This allows us to bring people and teams and bands and cheerleaders from basically all over the country to our wonderful city." said Park.

With more than 3,000 players, coaches and visitors in town, this year's conference is expected to bring in $4.1 million dollars locally.  That is a jump from $3.5 million during the 2011 tournament.

Organizers in El Paso started planning this year's event since the end of the 2011 tournament.

"They (Conference USA) were really pleased with the way El Pasoans came out and supported, and of course, our hospitality is legendary here so we were a shoe-in for 2014," said Bryan Crowe, General Manager of Destination El Paso.

It's a slam dunk for everyone, as college basketball fans get to see teams from across the country, and El Paso's economy will see a boost.  For the players and coaches, the prize is even bigger.

"The prize is getting to play in the NCAA tournament, so you win the tournament, you get to go on and play in the big dance," said women's basketball coach Keitha Adams.

The fun also continues off the court, as the Cincinnati Entertainment District will be blocked off for the Fan Fest block party Wednesday-Saturday at 5 p.m.

Eight visiting bands and cheerleaders from across the country will be performing their fight songs.

Games officially start Tuesday.  The UTEP men play Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center.  The UTEP women play Thursday at 5 p.m. at Memorial Gym. 

For a schedule of the tournament, click here.





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