The UTEP men's basketball team will begin Conference USA play Thursday with a road game at UTSA.
They'll then follow that up with a second contest against the Roadrunners Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners have not played a game since they defeated Wyoming on Dec. 22, and that has given them plenty of time to prepare for their upcoming opponent.
"You know, this time of year you don't have any school. It's mostly basketball right now, so we can spend a lot of time on our preparation," said UTEP head coach Rodney Terry. "I mean, we've probably spent as long a time on our prep on these guys as we've had all year long. And hopefully our guys are prepared and ready to go."
UTEP will enter conference play with a mark of 5-6, while UTSA comes into the upcoming games with a 6-7 record.
But the beginning of league action is a fresh start for teams, and the Miners still have all their goals in front of them. They believe that's allowed them to practice with a clear focus in recent days.
"Great enthusiasm, great energy, you know, great focus. I mean, we're young, but that doesn't stop us from getting better every day," said forward Paul Thomas. "You know, the sky is the limit. We're trying to compete for a conference championship."
As for whether UTEP vs. UTSA is a budding rivalry, Terry thinks that's something for the fans to worry about at this point.
"Well, at the end of the day, you know what you can control? We can't control whether they think it's a rivalry. We control 40 minutes out here on the floor. That's where the game is won," said Terry.