EL PASO, Texas - The UTEP men's basketball team will participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island in the Bahamas, host 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Colorado State, battle I-10 rival NM State twice and play a road game at Pac-12 power Washington State, highlighting the non-conference portion of its 2013-14 schedule. The full slate was announced on Wednesday.
The Miners, 18-14 last season with five of their top seven scorers and top four rebounders returning, will also join the field of the 52nd WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Dec. 28-29 at the Don Haskins Center. UTEP's 16-game Conference USA schedule includes home matchups with Marshall, Rice, Tulsa and league newcomers Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Louisiana Tech and UTSA.
The Miners will play a minimum of 21 home games, including hosting the Conference USA Championship March 11-15.
Following an exhibition versus Southeastern Oklahoma State (Nov. 2), UTEP will tip-off the regular season at home against Loyola (New Orleans) on Nov. 9. The Miners will play at NMSU on Nov. 15 - the earliest meeting between the Miners and the Aggies since the 1998-99 season. The UTEP-NMSU rematch is on Nov. 23 at the Haskins Center.
On Nov. 19, the Miners will face Colorado State for the third consecutive season. The Rams are coming off a 26-9 campaign that culminated in advancement to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
UTEP will join Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, USC, Villanova, Wake Forest and Xavier in the Battle 4 Atlantis Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 28-30) in the Bahamas. The Miners will take on Tennessee on Nov. 28 and either Iowa or Xavier on Nov. 29.
Beginning on Dec. 7, the Miners will be home for nine of 10 games during a month-long stretch. UTEP will host Sacramento State (Dec. 7), New Orleans (Dec. 16), Northwestern State (Dec. 19) and Montana State (Dec. 23) prior to the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational. Northwestern State was 23-9 last season, won the Southland Conference championship and played in the NCAA Tournament. The Demons were second nationally in scoring a year ago, averaging 80 points per game.
On Dec. 21, the Miners will play at Washington State for the first time in school history. UTEP will be facing a Pac-12 opponent on the road for the third year in a row (Oregon 2011, Arizona 2012).
UTEP will take on Angelo State in an exhibition game on Jan. 4 prior to tipping off the C-USA ledger at home against Charlotte (Jan. 9) and Marshall (Jan. 11). In a change from previous years, C-USA games will be played on Thursdays and Saturdays with teams either at home or on the road for two games each week.
The Miners will embark on their first league road swing to meet Middle Tennessee and UAB on Jan. 16 and 18, respectively. UTEP will play three consecutive C-USA home games in late January and early February, squaring off against UTSA (Jan. 25), La Tech (Jan. 30) and Rice (Feb. 1). The Miners will head east to match up with East Carolina (Feb. 6) and Old Dominion (Feb. 8) before Florida Atlantic (Feb. 13) and FIU (Feb. 15) invade the Haskins Center out of the Sunshine State.
UTEP will be on the road for four of its final six C-USA games, tangling with Tulane (Feb. 20), Southern Miss (Feb. 22), North Texas (March 2) and UTSA (March 6). The final regular season home game is on Feb. 27 versus Tulsa.
For the second time in four years, the Don Haskins Center will be the site of the Conference USA Men's and Women's Basketball Championship. The championship game will be played at 9:30 a.m. MT on Saturday, March 15 and will be nationally televised on CBS.
UTEP returns six players (John Bohannon, C.J. Cooper, Cedrick Lang, McKenzie Moore, Jalen Ragland, Julian Washburn) who appeared in at least 24 games last season, plus sophomore center Hooper Vint who played in 12 contests. Together the seven players accounted for 67 percent (1,361-of-2,042) of the team's points, 75.1 percent (674-of-897) of the individual rebounds and 46.7 percent (200-of-428) of the assists.
The freshman class includes 7-1 center Matt Willms, forward Vince Hunter, swingman Jake Flaggert and guard Josh Brown.
Season tickets start at $160 and are available now by calling (915) 747-6150.
Source: UTEP Athletics