EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The 2022 WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational will be one of the most anticipated ones in recent years.
On Thursday, the Sun Bowl Association and WestStar announced the four-team field playing in the 61st Annual WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
UTEP, the host team, will play in the tournament. Their rival that is just a short drive down I-10, New Mexico State, will also play in the invitational.
This will be the Aggies second ever appearance in the Sun Bowl Invitational and their first since 1961.
The Aggies will come into this year’s invitational with a new look. We are talking new players and a new head coach as Greg Heiar now has the keys to the program.
The Aggies will look to see if they can continue the type of success former NM State head coach Chris Jans and his Aggies team had in the 2021-2022 season. Jans and the Aggies defeated UCONN in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. It was the programs first win at the big dance since 1992. It was the 23rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history.
Meanwhile, The Miners will head in with new members on the mean but their head coach will remain the same. Joe Golding will enter his second year as head coach for the Miners. Golding and his squad finished last season 20-14 and grabbed their first 20-win season since 2014-15. UTEP’s win over Western Illinois in the Basketball Classic was the programs first postseason win since 2009.
This now presents the chance for the Miners and Aggies to play three times this upcoming season. The Miners and Aggies are expected to keep their home-and-home series regardless of what happens at the invitational, according to Stephen Wagner of Las Cruces Sun-News.
New Mexico State and UTEP will have to beat their respective opponents on their sides of the bracket if they want to meet up on the final game of the tournament.
North Carolina A&T and Kent State are the other two programs that will play in the invitational.
North Carolina A&T is making its second appearance in the Sun Bowl Invitational. Kent State on the other hand will return to El Paso after going 23-11 last season in the MAC. The Golden Flashes have experienced winning in El Paso before as they were the winners of the 2019 WestStar Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
The tournament is set for Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 21-22, 2022 in the Don Haskins Center.