Conference USA regular-season & tournament champion UTEP will continue its record-setting season against nationally-ranked Penn State (No. 11/12) in the first round of the NCAA Championships at 3:15 p.m. MT in Baton Rouge, La. Sunday. The Miners (29-3) received a No. 13 seed in the Kingston Region while the regular-season Big Ten champion Lady Lions (24-6) were tabbed with the fourth seed. The victor will advance to take on either host & fifth-seeded LSU (22-10) or 12th-seed San Diego State (25-6).
Chance To Shine On National TV Again
The contest against #11/12 Penn State marks the program-record-tying fifth time this year that UTEP will play in a nationally-televised tilt (ESPN2). The Miners are 4-0 in the situation this year and are 11-5 all time under Keitha Adams in that area.
Quick Rundown On #11/12 Penn State
No. 11/12 Penn State, which earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, has forged an overall mark of 24-6 on the year. Aiding that mark was four separate winning streaks of at least four games, including a season-best eight in a row down the stretch. Head coach Coquese Washington was tabbed as the league’s Coach of the Year with the Lady Lions rolling through the Big Ten at a 13-3 clip to claim its sixth regular-season title in program history. Four different plays contribute double figures in scoring, including All-Big Ten first-team honorees Maggie Lucas (19.1) and Alex Bentley (14.2). PSU is also an elite team from a stat point nationally. It checks in 10th nationally in scoring offense (75.5), 12th in three-point percentage (36.5), 14th at guarding treys (26.0), 16th in scoring margin (14.6), 24th in FG% defense (35.1) & 27th in overall FG% (43.4).
We Meet Again
UTEP & Penn State will be squaring off for the second time ever. PSU claimed the only meeting between the programs, 97-67, in a neutral-site match-up in Laromie, Wyo., on Nov. 19, 1983.
Slightly Different Histories At The Big Dance
UTEP is 1-1 all time in the NCAA Tournament, with its lone participation coming in 2008. Penn State is 27-22 all time at the event, and will be making its second straight & 23rd overall appearance in the Big Dance. It is one of only 12 teams in the country to earn at least 23 bids.
We Are The Champions
UTEP won both the Conference USA regular-season & tournament title championships. The Miners were 15-1 in C-USA play, with the .938 winning percentage checking in as the third best in league history (UTEP, 16-0, 2007-08 & Houston, 16-0, 2010-11).
Taking On Power Conference Teams
UTEP is 8-56 all time against teams from power conferences (at the time of the meeting). The Miners’ last victory against a school in a power league was a 63-53 triumph against Nebraska on Dec. 20, 2008.
Neutral No More
The Miners did not have a neutral-site contest during the regular season but had three such tilts in winning the C-USA conference tournament. Overall UTEP is 18-11 when playing in a neutral-site game under head coach Keitha Adams.