UTEP Men's Basketball 2015 NIT Tournament Capsule

UTEP Miners
Conference USA (22-10, 13-5)


The expectations were really high for UTEP heading into the 2014-2015 campaign, but they slipped off of the national radar after losing three straight games to Washington, Colorado State and New Mexico State. However, in retrospect, they only lost to Washington and Colorado State by three points and later lost to Arizona by just five. Once in Conference USA action, the Miners finished 13-5, which was good enough for second place. Maybe the expectations were higher than the results, but this is still a very talented team.

Big Wins: 11/28 vs Xavier (77-73), 12/22 Kent State (78-75), 2/14 Old Dominion (62-47)
Bad Losses: 12/6 at New Mexico State (64-71), 1/24 at Marshall (71-78), 2/28 at Southern Miss (60-63)
Coach: Tim Floyd

Why They Can Surprise:
The team’s rebounding margin is not all that impressive, but UTEP does boast one of the best rebounders around in sophomore Vince Hunter. The 6-8, 205 pound forward not only averages 9.2 rebounds per contest, but adds a team high 15.0 points. This team wants to work through their big men and with Hunter in the paint, it is a great strategy. The frontcourt is not all about Hunter though. Cedrick Lang is also a double digit scorer and a tough rebounder. At 6-10 and 255 pounds, Lang can push people around and that helps create space for Hunter. Matt Willms has been slowed by a foot injury, yet is another talented big man who can hit the glass. Hooper Vint may not be as productive as the other big men, yet he can eat up space and has done pretty well stepping in for Willms while he was out with his injury.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The backcourt production has been a little disappointing this season. Wing Julian Washburn has taken a step back after a great 2013-2014 season. The hope was he could turn into an 18 point per game type of player, but he has been hanging around the ten mark most of the year. Part of the reason for Washburn’s decrease in production is the emergence of Earvin Morris, Jr. Morris, a junior college transfer, is shooting 40.3 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 11.0 points per game. C.J. Cooper and Omega Harris are both capable of knocking down shots, but do not do so on a consistent basis.

Probable Starters:
C.J. Cooper, Senior, Guard, 7.8 ppg, 3.2 apg
Earvin Morris, Junior, Guard, 11.0 ppg, 1.2 apg
Julian Washburn, Senior, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Vince Hunter, Sophomore, Forward, 15.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Cedrick Lang, Senior, Forward, 10.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Omega Harris, Freshman, Guard, 6.6 ppg, 1.9 apg
Hooper Vint, Junior, Center, 3.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Matt Willms, Sophomore, Center, 5.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.1 bpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.4 (122nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.3 (92, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.8 (41, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (106, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (250, 11)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (107, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.3 (293, 8)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (149, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (87, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (141, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    CBI    First Round loss to Fresno State
2011    NIT    First Round loss to New Mexico
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Butler
2009    CBI    First Round win over Nevada
2009    CBI    Second Round win over Northeastern
2009    CBI    Semifinal win over Richmond
2009    CBI    Finals loss to Oregon State
2008    CBI    First Round loss to Utah
2006    NIT    Opening round win over Lipscomb
2006    NIT    First Round loss to Michigan

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules