UTEP Looking for Legends Classic Title
UTEP (3-1) joins Georgia Tech (3-1), Michigan (3-0) and Syracuse (4-0) in the championship rounds of the Legends Classic on Friday and Saturday (Nov. 26-27) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. First-day matchups include the Miners versus the Yellow Jackets at 3:30 p.m. MT (5:30 ET), and the Wolverines versus the Orange at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 ET). The consolation and championship games are slated for Saturday at 5:30 and 7:30 ET, respectively. All four games will be nationally televised on HDNet.
Produced by the Gazelle Group, the Legends Classic (www.legends.com) is in its fourth year of existence. UTEP is the first Conference USA team to participate in the event. Past champions of the Legends Classic were Texas in 2007, Pittsburgh in 2008 and Florida in 2009.
The four teams in the Legends Classic championship rounds combined for a 94-42 record last season, with Georgia Tech, Syracuse and UTEP all advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Together the teams have made 86 NCAA Tournament appearances. Syracuse has 11 letterwinners back from last year's 30-5 squad and is currently ranked ninth nationally by the Associated Press and 10th by USA Today/ESPN.
The Yellow Jackets have two starters and eight letterwinners returning from last year's 23-13 squad that advanced to the championship game of the ACC Tournament. Georgia Tech has beaten Charleston Southern (52-39), Albany (78-51) and Niagara (77-51) at home this season while losing at Kennesaw State (80-63).
Georgia Tech has three players with double figure scoring averages -- junior guard Iman Shumpert (15.3 ppg), sophomore swingman Brian Oliver (12.0 ppg) and sophomore guard Mfon Udofia (10.0 ppg). The Yellow Jackets have six freshmen and five sophomores on their 15-man roster.
UTEP's Tim Floyd and Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt have faced one another once previously as head coaches. Floyd's USC Trojans topped Hewitt's Yellow Jackets 76-57 on Dec. 22, 2008 in Los Angeles. That also marks the only time Floyd has coached against Georgia Tech.
UTEP is 2-0 all-time versus Georgia Tech, 1-3 versus Michigan and 0-2 versus Syracuse. The Miners haven't met the Yellow Jackets since 1981, but faced Michigan in the 2006 NIT and played at Syracuse during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.