UTEP earned three votes and is tied for 36th in the country according to the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll released Tuesday. The Miners (19-2, 8-0 Conference USA) have now garnered votes in both major polls in consecutive weeks for the first occasion since the 2007-08 campaign and second time overall in program annals.
The overall effort has allowed the Miners to equal their best record through 21 games in school history (2007-08), while setting the standard for best road record (7-1) at this juncture.
Fourteen of the 19 victories on the season have been by double figures, including a program-best nine by at least 20 points. After a loss by Duke on Monday, the Miners are now one of nine teams nationally to be both undefeated in league action and have two or fewer total losses.
It is 3-1 vs. teams currently in the top-100 of the RPI, with wins at Tulane (36), Idaho State (64) & Memphis (82) and a two-point setback at Arizona State (51). Additionally, the Miners are 3-0 against teams currently in first place of their league.
Defense and depth have been the driving force for the successful season to date. UTEP hasn’t allowed more than 63 points in regulation, with eight foes failing to crack 50. It is seventh nationally in three-point percentage defense, eighth in overall field-goal defense, 12th in rebounding margin and 20th in scoring margin.
The bench has outscored the opposition’s reserves in every contest, and it holds a double-digit advantage 20 times. Furthermore, the Miners’ reserves have outpaced the opponent’s starters (nine) or matched them (three) on 12 occasions.
UTEP will be idle until it plays at Rice in a nationally-televised tilt (Fox Sports Networks) on Sunday. The Owls (11-10, 5-3 C-USA) have won three straight overall. They are 7-3 at home, including a perfect 4-0 mark in league action.