POSTED: Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 2:50pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 3:26pm
EL PASO, TEXAS - Conference USA leader UTEP (18-5, 9-1 C-USA) shoots for its ninth straight league victory -- which would tie the school record -- on Saturday when East Carolina (8-16, 2-8 C-USA) comes to the Don Haskins Center. The Miners haven't won nine conference games in a row since the 1954-55 season, when they were members of the now-disbanded Border Conference. UTEP's eight-game winning streak is its longest since a 10-game run during the 2004-05 season. It marks the 21st season that the Miners have enjoyed a winning streak of eight games or more (the others were 1939-40, 1947-48, 1954-55, 1956-57, 1961-62, 1963-64, 1965-66, 1971-72, 1974-75, 1975-76, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1990-91, 1991-92, 2000-01 and 2004-05). Of the aforementioned 20 teams, 11 extended their winning streak to nine games but only six extended it to 10. The Miners are 12-2 at home and seeking 13 home wins for the third year in a row. UTEP was 13-3 at home in 2007-08 and 13-5 last season. The Miners still have home games remaining against Rice (Feb. 27) and UAB (March 6) following Saturday's date with the Pirates. UTEP Coach Tony Barbee has warned his team to disregard East Carolina's record. "They have a good team with some pieces," Barbee said. "Their point guard is as good as any in the league. Jamar Abrams is a difficult matchup, and they have a couple of big guys in Chad Wynn and Darrius Morrow who are pretty good when they get the ball inside. Why their record isn't that good I don't know, but they have a lot of talent on their team."