UTEP (20-5, 11-1 C-USA) vies for its 11th consecutive victory on Wednesday at Southern Miss (16-10, 6-6 C-USA). The game will be televised in El Paso on Time Warner Cable MetroSports Southwest Channel 24 beginning at 6 p.m. MT.
UTEP is ranked 25th in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll, the first national ranking for the Miners in 18 years.
The Miners clinched a first-round bye in the Conference USA Tournament with Saturday’s 78-70 win at Tulsa. UTEP is a game ahead of second-place Memphis (20-7, 10-2) in the league standings with four games to play. The Miners own the tiebreaker advantage over the Tigers.
UTEP has won 10 straight C-USA games and five consecutive C-USA road games, both school records. The Miners’ overall 10-game winning streak ties for the sixth-longest in school history. UTEP hasn’t won 11 games in a row since the 1991-92 season, when it enjoyed a run of 12 straight victories.
The Golden Eagles have rebounded from an 0-4 start in Conference USA play to win six of their last eight games. The only setbacks during that span were a 60-52 loss at Tulsa on Feb. 10 and a 59-54 home loss to UAB on Feb. 17. Southern Miss is 10-2 at home this season.
“Southern Miss is playing very well,” UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. “They have won six of their last eight. They were up 16 at Tulsa, and they were up 15 at home to UAB. UCF had them down 16 (on Saturday) and they were able to tough it out and win the game. They are a physical team. I told our guys that Wednesday’s game is going to be a street fight.”