UTEP came close, by 2 points, from defeating No. 18-ranked UNLV Monday night. It looked to me like an "almost" in a Coach Tim Floyd strategy. It was a 62-60 loss vs. a slam 'n dunk team. Good slowing down of the rhythm. Still not much of an offense.
1) You can't recruit like Duke, Kentucky ... Texas
2) You can, by good convincing, get good talent that can THINK they are elite. A good athlete will think he he can.
3) Then, as UTEP is doing, you play a tough schedule early (before conference). Oops, you don't win. Your guys figure they need TO LISTEN TO THE COACH! And there are some tough practice sessions. All ears. It's good coaching stragedy.
4) In the case of UTEP this year, the Conference USA schedule is nearly as tough as the early season fare. Maybe Memphis, but not a lot of UNLVs.
Bottom line: UTEP will be a real force in C-USA this season.