Seeding On The Line In Lone Star Hoops Road Swing
One Week Before C-USA Tourney, NT Hoops Fighting For Choice Seed
North Texas (14-14, 8-8 C-USA) vs. UTEP (19-9, 11-5 C-USA)
EL PASO, Texas - At its best, North Texas has proved it can take down the top squads in Conference USA. In fact, the Mean Green was riding a league-best five game win streak heading into Saturday night, and is the only team to beat both Louisiana Tech and UAB - the two teams atop the standings.
North Texas will need to find that form once again on this crucial road swing to UTEP and UTSA that will decide the seeding in next week's C-USA Tournament.
With just two regular-season games to play, the Mean Green is in sixth place in the C-USA standings. Sixth is as high as NT can finish, but only one game separates North Texas from a three-way tie for eighth place.
Dozens of what-ifs and tiebreaker scenarios come into play when five teams find themselves packed so tightly in the standings, but know this; the Mean Green needs at least a split on this road trip in order to land a favorable seed in the tourney.
Fourth place UTEP is the first team that stands in NT's way. The Miners are coming off a gut-wrenching loss at Southern Miss that saw them cough up a 24-point lead with 11 minutes to play. However, UTEP is 12-2 at the Don Haskins Center and feature standouts Vince Hunter and Julian Washburn.
Hunter was last year's C-USA Freshman of the Year, and is averaging 14.8 points and a league-high 9.2 rebounds this year. Washburn, a senior, has racked up 1,460 career points.
UTEP head coach Tim Floyd is a veteran of 426 career wins, including a 100-61 record in El Paso. Floyd, who spent five seasons as a head coach in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets, is a veteran of four NIT appearances and eight NCAA Tournament bids in his collegiate head coaching career.