No surprise in the game. Memphis defeated UTEP 65-47 in a pull-away, not a rout.
Pleasant surprise: UTEP's freshmen-sophomore basketball team fared better than expected in a 15-17 season. It's going to be OK in Utepia.
The quarter-final game of the Conference USA Basketball Tournament: Memphis ended UTEP's season by flexing its relentless blue-chip recruit raw talent vs. Coach Tim Floyd's quite potent chalkboard strategy. UTEP wanted to slow it down, slow it down ... slow it down - and did. But Memphis got slap turnover over slap turnover, and UTEP bumbled with its hands. That was the difference. Memphis scored 21 points off UTEP turnovers.
As usual in a Floyd game, the opponents never got to put on a sustained points run. But two Memphis little streaks were the difference. The first was a slam-dunk binge late in the first half and into the second half. The second was a pullaway 8-0 run midway in the second half.
Be reminded this is a freshman-sophomore UTEP team. It's weakness was on offense, not defense. That's an important plus heading into next season. Young guys who can guard somebody? A coach's dream. The airballs and the can't-finish-on-layups will be corrected. And the bad passes.
Next season look for points to come and brick hands (this means you, John Bohannon) to soften. But if there's one lesson Floyd got over to this unit is that they guys - because they did - were most-often able to execute a defense that stiffled the opponent's star scorer.