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March 17, 2009


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Just some food for thought but teams use to have to pay to play in the NIT before th NCAA took over that tournament.

I know people are bashing these third Tier tournaments but it looks like they are here to stay. Especially now that the CBI has a TV contract with HDNET. A channel that anybody who has an HDTV gets.

the reaction and backlash by fans to these third tier tournaments kind of reminds me of how people reacted when the number of bowl games began to expand. People were saying the same things about those new bowl games that they are about these third tier tournaments.

Schools were saying the exact same things, that those bowl games were beneath them, that they would rather stay home then go to one of those new bowl games, that it was beneath the prestige and legacy of the school to attend those bowl games.

But now look, Schools like UTEP and NMSU would kill to play in ANY bowl game. And Historic schools like Notre Dame will taake anything they can get even with a 6-6 record. (Hawaii Bowl)

Its only a matter of time before big name schools will begin accepting invites from tournies like the CBI. It happened in football, it is going to happen in basketball.


NMSU said "no thanks," for the second straight year to playing in the Coach Barbee Invitational (CBI).

I'm not a Utep fan but, Coach Barbee?? The man had a pretty good team and did very little with it
I really thought NMSU was going to get swept by Utep this year but, was presently surprised when we stole game!

Does the CBI have a bracket manager? ;)

Toasted Whitebred

Well, I predicted last year that the Miners would improve on their record and get into the NIT. While they did improve significantly in Conference and a little in overall record, it was dissapointing to see them not get any consideration for the NIT. Turns out they weren't even close to being considered.

Last year, the Miners were spanked in the CBI by a UTAH team that played solid team basketball that exposed their weaknesses under the basket and in the half court game.

Nevada is that same type of team. Fundamentally sound and great at working the ball on offense and staying between their man and the basket. It'll be interesting...

Here are things that have to improve for the Miners next year.

1. Defense - Over and over this year, the Miners make a basket and go right to sleep. Can't get back on D to save their lives. We were one of the worst teams in the league. What ever defense coach Barbee is playing, it needs serious tweaking.

2. Outside shooting/shot selection - One of the worst 3 point shooting teams in conference. Noone really has a good shooting touch accept perhaps Culpepper when he shoots within the flow of the offense. Stone needs to control Culpepper though and insist on running the offense. Every ball should go through Stone. Recruits Polk, Ruppel and Strong should help.

3. Inside play - They have been pushovers down low. Miners will get better just by the maturing presence of Moultrie. Portalatin should also improve. Recruits Williams and/or Caracter will help some but Miners still need a force in the paint. Caracter was a 5 star recruit but Williams is the real deal. Although he's committed to UTEP verbally, he still has options.

4. Television - The Miners TV marketing deal or lack there of is annoying to the fans but murderous for the teams chances of going to larger tournament. Get a media deal worthy of this team please.



I think the TV package is one that is exactly worthy of this team. The 5th-7th best team in the 10th-12th best conference in the country is lucky to get on ESPN once. UTEP did that.

That said, I agree with your post. #1 has to be shot selection though. When your entire offense is having two guys penetrate into the lane and throw up a hail mary and hope to get fouled than you have problems.


It's a sad day when the NIT is a step up for a school.


Conference USA had a preseason rank of 7 but finished 10th. UTEP was 4th place.

The offense will not change as long as Barbee is coach. He will be coach until he gets into the NCAA tournament or the team tanks. They are winning more games every season so it looks like he will leave after he gets us to the tournament. That will probably happen next year.

A lot of people don't like Barbee's personality and arrogance. Winning will change attitudes about that. Bobby Knight wasn't exactly a nice guy to be around but he was loved because IU won. I'm sure there will be a lot of crying when he leaves and a new up and comer is hired. But that is how it is in college basketball these days.

Agree with Toasted on all those issues facing us for next year. Inside play was the biggest dissapointment this year.

Bob Stull will listen and make changes if enough people make noise about the TV deal. I'm sure something can be done to get around the CSTV deal.


When Memphis ditches CUSA, the miners will have many opportunities to win the conference. Of course CUSA will be the 15th ranked conference in the country, but heck, the king of Conference Not Much is still king of something.


I like the Miners' chances against Nevada. Counting tonight, Nevada has had to play four games in something like six days. They have to be tired.


Thanks for correcting me Cleo. I apologize if I ranked UTEP 5th best in C-USA when they were clearly 4th best. Also, by stating C-USA is the 10th-12th best conference, I was clearly mistaken. Especially since C-USA was at some point rated the 7th best league.

When you say that Barbee will have UTEP in the tournament next year, are you referring to the CBI, NIT, or Sun Carnival Classic? Because last I checked UTEP loses their best player, still has no inside presence, and is still terribly confused on offense. To state boldly that they will make the actual NCAA Tournament can only be regarded as blind optimism. But hey, with the state of UTEP athletics, blind optimism is all the Miner Nation really has.

Bring on Texas! I mean UT-Austin! TV is gonna shred them!



And whre exactly will Memphis leave to? The Big 12, SEC, and ACC are all 12 team conference and will never grow beyond that number. The Big 10, thats a football conference, you have to have a good football program to get into that league and Memphis stinks in football.

So the only logical conference would be the Big East. However, the Big east already passed on Memphis once and has far to many Basketball schools as it is. Don't expect them to give an invitation.

Look, the conference alignments are solely based on football, thats where all the money is. The reason Memphis cannot get out of C-USA is because their football team is horrible. It is on the same level as UTEP's.

For Memphis to get consideration from BCS conferences it must began to win C-USA titles in football and thats not happening any time soon.

Lets face it, the conferences on the East Coast and Midwest are set for years to come, if you want to see some conference shake things up, keep an eye out west for what the Pac-10 and Mtn West may be doing in the future. Also, Boise St. Utah, and BYU are more likely to move up then Memphis.

Its all about football and money.

Mike Bond 04

Well another CBI Tournament for the Miners. Excuse me if I'm wrong but since when is it a goal for UTEP to just keep playing in a third-tier Tournament? Wasn't this the team that was supposed to be in the NCAA this year, had the big men and the guard play at the level to do it? Wasn't it supposed to be the year that we gave Memphis that loss here at home? Instead we have our moron of a coach agreeing that the CBI Tournament is encouragement to keep playing. What honor or pride are you looking for in considering yourself the 97th best team in the nation? I think priorities are messed up with Barbee and expects the community to be satisfied with his mediocrity. In my opinion, we should have hired Nolan Richardson when we had the chance because at least he would have played in the way we're used to: Hard-Nose defense, controlled tempo basketball, and best of all, get the most out of his players.

This season was overhyped and will continue to be overhyped, no matter what recruits come in. If a coach doesn't know how to manage players such as it has been proven by Barbee, then the best recruits won't get it done either. I know most people think that 20 wins is an improvement (which in a way it is), but this team was SUPPOSED TO MAKE THE NCAA, NOT THE CBI!(It was in the ELP Times before the season began)

I laugh how after the Nevada game, Barbee said that he wants to build momentum for next year. Hey Barbee, just a thought, momentum is a positive velocity of matter, and you have taken matter and kept it still. The way you build momentum is by you hitting up coaching 101 and learn how to control your own team's defense and offense.

Final thought: How does momentum carry on in between the summer, football season, and then finally basketball season again (total of about 7 months, no way of creating velocity)?


You know what, I'm gonna just say it, I think Coach Barbee is a darn good coach and we are lucky to have landed him.

The guy is winning basketball games. Sorry folks if it doesn't resemble the days of Haskins hard nose ball but he has just put together a 19 win season and a 20 win season.

And even though he won last night in the CBI, the gawd awful CBI, just remember who they beat, former conference rival and the second best team in the WAC on their home court.

And with the face of NCAA selections changing yearly and the number of at Large bids for non-BCS conferences declining every year since 2001 (only 4 at large bids went to non-BCS schools this year) tournaments will be the only chance for non-BCS schools to get post season play.

Lastly, some of you ignorant, arrogant, selfish people need to get over yourselves and realize this is not about you. This is for the players. Did you see the game last night. Did you see how the players were playing their hearts out and having a great time.

This is for Stefon Jackson who gets to extend his senior year. (Great game winning shot by him). This is for all those sophomores and freshmen still learning to play and experiencing post season play.

And yes this will help build momentum for next season if they continue to win.... don't know about all that velocity talk though, I'm talking about momentum as its used in the sporting world, not the science classroom.

Toasted Whitebred

Great win for the Miners, big milestone win for TB, Jackson looked really impressive, Culpepper looked frustrated as all heck but played with tremendous heart. I hope he doesn't "quit" the team.

Forgive me if this is a turnabout but seems to me that the Miners would have better rivalries, better T.V. coverage, easier travel schedule and a better chance to go to the NCAA tournament if they were in the WAC.


It's interesting how there's a lot of talk about Barbee. He's doing a tremendous job with the team. I think he showed that he can coach getting wins against New Mexico at the pit and against St. Mary's. I don't think we should be worry about scoring next year it's defense that gave us the most trouble this year.

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UTEP sports blog: Joe Muench has been a sports writer and a sports editor in El Paso for decades, but he’s best known as the columnist everyone loves to talk about. His UTEP athletics blog starts up the conversation again.

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