Sunday chat: UTEP basketball and Tim Floyd

The El Paso Times Sports staff and a special guest share their

thoughts on: “How will the UTEP men’s

basketball team do this season under

Tim Floyd?”:

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Bill Knight

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This should be a

basketball season filled with

fun.

The Miners, despite being a veteran team, will get better with

each week, each month. The shift to the Tim Floyd defensive style

will take a bit of an adjustment, some repetitions until it becomes

instinct and not something the players have to think about.

There are some challenges in the non-conference schedule —

Pacific, the double dip with rival New Mexico State, a meeting with

Georgia Tech and either Michigan or Syracuse in Atlantic City, a

home matchup with Texas Tech and a trip to Provo to face old WAC

rival BYU. These games will only strengthen the Miners for the

Conference USA chase.

The Miners will probably play with a smaller lineup this year.

But their quickness and athleticism and the old-school defense will

be fun to watch.

And it will add up to plenty of wins — enough for yet another

tango in the Big Dance.

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Felix Chavez

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The Miners have a proven college coach in the popular Tim Floyd,

who is a good recruiter and solid teacher of the game.

UTEP is coming off a strong season last year and should be in

the hunt for an NCAA or NIT postseason berth this year. The Miners

have a very good backcourt led by Randy Culpepper, who is one of

the best guards in Conference USA.

UTEP’s biggest challenge will be in the post, where the team

must replace Arnett Moultrie (transfer) and Derrick Caracter (NBA).

But Floyd is a solid technician and UTEP’s backcourt is capable of

carrying the team a long way. Plus the league tourney is in El

Paso, so expect UTEP to win 20-plus games and return to the NCAA or

NIT.

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Aaron Bracamontes

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There is a good buzz around the UTEP men’s basketball team this

season.

Looking at all the talent that returns from last year and with a

coach like Tim Floyd, it can all make for an exciting season and

many sold-out crowds. I would not be surprised if the Miners become

the hottest ticket in town.

But, of course, what will matter the most are victories. UTEP

has a good chance to have a winning season, contend for the

Conference USA title and take another shot at reaching the second

round of the NCAA tournament.

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Bret Bloomquist

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Personnel losses should add up to three or four fewer victories

for UTEP, though the arrival of Tim Floyd could offset that.

So give the Miners one less victory in the regular season, then

a conference tournament title because they are on their home

floor.

They’ll get underseeded by the NCAA in the tourney because they

are a mid-major, but that should still mean a No. 11 seed and a

chance for an upset in the first round.

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Margaret Gallardo

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The excitement has been in the air since March 30 — the day

UTEP hired Tim Floyd, much to the delight of excited fans across

the city.

On Oct. 15, that energy burst all over the Don Haskins Center

floor when the players took to the court for their first day of

official practice under Floyd. It’s one thing embracing someone who

has been here and coached under the legendary Bear, but it’s

another to support someone who has proven himself time and time

again.

Floyd will not only bring back discipline, hard work and

motivation — he brings back a signature defense that worked so

well for so many years when he was Don Haskins’ assistant. And now

he’s at the helm.

Everyone prepare: A new era of Miner Basketball is here (or

shall we say — is back).

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Tim Hardaway — Guest

Former NBA, UTEP player

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I know Coach Floyd will get it going here.

He’s been out on the road recruiting and that’s something he

does well. He’s got to get a lot of guys for next year and that’s

tough. But I know he will get this thing going and UTEP will be

good.

I’m sure this year will be good and pretty soon he’ll have some

other great athletes in here.

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