UTEP will look to get back on track when it heads to the “Sunshine State” to square off against UCF at 5 p.m. MST on Thursday. The Miners (12-9, 4-5 C-USA) were edged out by UAB, 62-56, on Feb. 6. The Knights (12-10, 5-4 C-USA) halted a two-game skid by taking down Tulsa, 61-48, on the road on Feb. 6. Thursday’s match-up will serve as the only meeting on the year between the programs.
The game will be broadcast locally in El Paso on the radio waves through KHRO 1150 AM. Live stats will be available thanks to Gametracker on UCF’s athletic site.
All 12 Conference USA teams have won a game in league play, including 10 which have picked up three or more. Houston (9-0) more than halfway to a perfect regular-season slate while Memphis (7-3), Rice (6-3), Tulane (6-4) and UCF (5-4) are all above .500. The Miners (4-5), SMU (4-5), East Carolina (4-5) and Southern Miss (4-5) are deadlocked in sixth place. UAB (3-6) is one game back, followed by Marshall (2-7) and Tulsa (1-8). The top-four finishers will receive a first-round bye in the 2011 C-USA Championships, which will be held in El Paso from March 9-12.
UTEP’s next four opponents are all within the top five of the league, and sport a combined C-USA mark of 26-11. Three of the next four contests will be on the road, with those foes boasting a combined home record of 21-7.
Thursday’s game will mark the seventh all time between the programs, and the Miners will be looking to improve upon their 5-1 advantage in the series. UTEP has won four straight against the Knights, but this will be just the second meeting in Orlando in the past five years. UTEP and UCF have met each year since joining C-USA in 2005, although they did face each other one time beforehand. The Miners downed the Knights, 80-56, on the road during the 1997-98 season.
UTEP will return home to play host to Tulane at 1:05 p.m. MST on Sunday. It will be the “Pink Zone” game, with all fans who wear anything pink receiving free admission. The Miners will be looking to avenge a 69-63 defeat against the Green Wave on Jan. 30.