Miners, Middle Tennessee Meet for Title Game Berth Friday

Omega Harris
March 9, 2017

UTEP Notes for C-USA Championship Semifinals (PDF) Get Acrobat Reader

Fourth seed UTEP (15-16) meets top seed Middle Tennessee (28-4) in the semifinals of the 2017 Conference USA Championships Presented by metroPCS. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network with tip-off at 10:30 a.m. MT (11:30 a.m. CT) on Friday.

The Miners advanced in the tournament with an 86-76 quarterfinal victory over Rice on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Middle Tennessee upended UTSA 86-70.

The winner will advance to the championship game on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. MT/7:30 p.m. CT (CBS Sports Network).

UTEP has won 13 of its last 16 games. Middle Tennessee has won 18 of its last 19, with the lone loss during that stretch coming at UTEP (57-54) on Feb. 4. The Miners overcame a 17-point second half deficit in that game to tie for their biggest comeback victory under coach Tim Floyd.

UTEP leads the series 3-2. The teams are meeting in the C-USA Championship semifinals for the second time in three years. On March 13, 2015, the sixth-seed Blue Raiders upset the no. 2 seed Miners, 53-50, in Birmingham. The Miners led for much of the game, and 35-31 with a little over 10 minutes remaining before the Blue Raiders went on a game-changing 11-0 run.

Players on this year’s rosters who appeared in that game are Giddy Potts, Edward Simpson and Reggie Upshaw for Middle Tennessee, and Omega Harris and Matt Willms for UTEP. Upshaw had 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for Middle Tennessee.

UTEP’s Tim Floyd and Middle Tennessee’s Kermit Davis were on the same coaching staff at Idaho for two seasons (1986-88). Floyd was the head coach and Davis was an assistant at the time.

The Vandals were 35-25 during those two years and were runner-up in the Big Sky Conference in 1987-88 while finishing 19-11.

When Floyd left to take the New Orleans job for the 1988-89 season, Davis took over as head coach and orchestrated back-to-back 25-6 campaigns. Idaho appeared in the NCAA Tournament in both 1989 and 1990 under Davis, losing a first-round game each time.

 

 

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