UTEP vs. New Mexico State basketball preview
CUSA-fans.com has a new staff of team correspondents this fall to help bring you, the fan, more detailed Conference USA sports coverage. Today, our new UTEP Correspondent Robert Robles brings you a preview of the basketball game between UTEP and New Mexico State.
Both NMSU and UTEP are going into Saturday’s game in Las Cruces with records of 4-3, with both coming off wins over the archrival New Mexico. The battle of Interstate 10 has never looked more attractive.
The Miners are going to have their hands full with the starting lineup that the Aggies are going to throw at them. For starters, 6’ 5” Forward Justin Hawkins is averaging a very respectable 18.9 points per game. Two other players, 6’ 4” Guard Fred Peete and 6’ 6” Forward David Fisher, are also averaging double digit points per game. The Aggies should be equally worried with players such as starting 6’ 5” Guard Stefon Jackson who is averaging 19.6 points per game, who is also averaging 7.3 rebounds per game. Two other players that NMSU may want to pay attention to are 6’ 4” Guard Marvin Kilgore who is averaging 10.7 points per game, and 6’ 10” Center Jeremy Sampson who has an extremely accurate perimeter shot.
Defensively, UTEP has a major advantage albeit allowing 74.3 points per game compared to NMSU with 78.6. The Miners are ranked 13th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game, which is currently at 16. The Miners are also averaging a very respectable 44.6 rebounds per game, which is currently ranked 26th in the nation, compared to NMSU with only 36.9 rebounds per game.
The Aggies are averaging an impressive 82.9 points per game compared to the Miners 74. So offensively, the Aggies have both the edge and the experience to make it a high scoring affair.
The Miners have had some major adapting to do this season due the very abrupt coaching change from Doc Sadler to Tony Barbee. It seems the Miners are finding some chemistry on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. It may be an incredibly close game, but the Miners are 2-1 on the road, against teams such as Penn and Syracuse, and this experience should propel them to a win.
UTEP – 77, NMSU - 72