EL PASO, Texas – The undefeated UTEP men’s basketball team (4-0) will venture to the “Golden State” to continue the SoCal Challenge by facing off against Pac-12 member Cal (2-2) in a nationally-televised contest (CBS Sports Network) at 10:30 p.m. MT Monday.
Tulane and Bradley will lock up in the first contest of the evening (7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT). The victors from each game will play for the championship at 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT on Wednesday (Nov. 22). The third/fourth-place tilt will follow.
The Miners opened the MTE (multiple-team event) by posting a wire-to-wire 71-63 victory against Austin Peay on Nov. 17. The Bears are coming off a narrow 63-60 setback against Montana State on Nov. 16, a game in which they trailed by as many as 14 as early in the second half. Cal had two chances to tie the contest in the waning seconds but was unable to connect.
The Miners are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2019-20 when they began the season at 5-0. The Miners are 4-0 to begin the year, something that hasn’t happened since a 5-0 opening in 2019-20. It is the sixth time since 2000 that the Orange and Blue have won at least their first four games. It also occurred in 2015-16 (6-0), 2014-15 (4-0), 2009-10 (5-0) and 2000-01 (6-0).
UTEP posted a wire-to-wire win against Austin Peay on Nov. 17, marking the second such victory this season. It also happened against USAO on Nov. 9. Furthermore, the Miners have yet to trail in the second half in this young campaign. The game vs. UC Santa Barbara was tied at 44 at the break, but UTEP opened the second stanza on an 8-0 run and never looked back.
The Miners’ match-up against Cal will be their first against a Power Six member (traditional Power Five + Big East) this season, with UTEP set to play at another Pac-12 program (Oregon) on Dec. 9. UTEP is in search of its initial win again against a Power Six school under head coach Joe Golding and first since knocking off Arizona State on the road, 76-63, on Dec. 16, 2020. The last time the Orange and Blue defeated a Power Six program in a neutral-site match-up was a 77-73 triumph against Xavier (Big East) on Nov. 28, 2014.