El Paso, TX — The UTEP Miners will take on Tennessee on the first day of the 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday, Nov. 28. The Miners and the Vols will square off at 9:30 p.m. EST (7:30 MT) in the final game of the day at the famed Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, with the NBC Sports Network providing national television coverage.
“The Battle 4 Atlantis features one of the top two or three fields in the country year in and year out,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “You look at the field and you think, ‘Oh my gosh.’ You’re not sure who you want to play, because everybody is terrific.
“Tennessee won 20 games a year ago and has a front line as good as anybody in the United States with Jeronne Maymon and Jarnell Stokes. They beat Kentucky by 30 a year ago and a majority of their key pieces are back.”
Other opening round matchups include USC vs. Villanova at 1:00 p.m. EST, Kansas vs. Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. EST and Iowa vs. Xavier at 7 p.m. EST.
The Miners will face either Iowa or Xavier on Friday, Nov. 29 at a time to be determined. The tournament continues through Saturday, Nov. 30.
The Battle 4 Atlantis field boasts a combined 191 NCAA Tournament appearances, 25 Final Four appearances and five national championships.
In addition to the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, Atlantis also boasts a half-million dollar arena with state-of-the-art regulation facilities, located at the epicenter of the famous resort. Atlantis offers guests lavish accommodations, a Mandara Spa, and a 141-acre waterscape with slides and rivers, as well as the largest casino in the Caribbean and a variety of celebrity-chef dining – including Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and Todd English’s newly opened Olives.
To book flights to the Bahamas, please call Sun Travel at (915) 532-8900.
Battle 4 Atlantis land packages, including tickets, ground transportation and hotel accommodations, can be purchased through Mason Miller by calling (404) 668-7450 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org . She will also answer all questions pertaining to the tournament and provide additional information on pricing and availability.
UTEP welcomes back five of its top seven scorers from last season’s 18-14 squad that finished third in Conference USA with a 10-6 mark. Headlining the list of returnees is junior forward/guard Julian Washburn, a third team All-League player and member of the C-USA All-Defensive Team a year ago. He scored 19 points or more in three of the last four games.
Other top scorers returning in 2013-14 are senior center John Bohannon (824 points, 560 rebounds and 110 blocks in his career), junior guard McKenzie Moore (8.6 ppg/5.2 rpg in ’12-13), junior forward Cedrick Lang (double figure scoring in four of the last six games in ’12-13) and junior guard C.J. Cooper (10.9 ppg over the last seven games in ’12-13).
The Miners will have four players 6-9 or taller on their 2013-14 roster – Bohannon (6-10), Lang (6-9), sophomore center Hooper Vint (6-11) and 7-1 newcomer Matt Willms.
Tennessee was 20-13 last season, including 11-7 in the Southeastern Conference, with an NIT appearance. The Vols return three of their top three scorers in senior guard Jordan McRae (15.7 ppg), junior forward Jarnell Stokes (12.4 ppg) and junior guard Josh Richardson (7.9 ppg). Maymon averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds two seasons ago before redshirting the 2012-13 campaign with a knee injury.
UTEP and Tennessee have met once previously in their basketball history. The Miners knocked off the Vols, 77-57, on Dec. 28, 1962 in a Sun Carnival Classic Tournament game in El Paso. Nolan Richardson scored 20 points in that game to lead the Miners, and eventual NBA Draft top pick Jim Barnes had 17 rebounds.