Texas-El Paso (6-6) at Tulane (12-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Devlin Fieldhouse (3,600) -- New Orleans, New Orleans. Television: None. Home Record: UTEP 6-1, Tulane 10-0. Away Record: UTEP 0-1, Tulane 1-3. Neutral Record: UTEP 0-3, Tulane 1-0. Conference Record: UTEP 0-0, Tulane 0-0. Series Record: Tulane leads, 2-0.
GAMES NOTES: The Tulane Green Wave will put their perfect home record on the line as the Texas-El Paso Miners come to Devlin Fieldhouse for the Conference USA opener for each team on Wednesday night.
In a non-conference game last Wednesday UTEP came up just short on the road against Colorado State, 62-58. With the setback, which ended a three-game winning streak, the Miners fell to 6-6 overall. It was also the first true road test for the Miners who will player their next two games at home beginning against Marshall on Saturday.
With its 62-48 triumph over Wofford on Friday Tulane has now won all 10 of its games at home this season. The homecourt-heavy start to the season has really favored Tulane which is 12-3, including wins in each of the last five games. Tulane will be back on the road to face SMU in its next time out.
Last year these teams split the season series with the home team victorious in each instance. UTEP leads the all-time series, 7-3.
After trailing by as many as 12 points against Colorado State, UTEP rallied back and took a 53-52 lead with 3:27 remaining. After the teams traded leads over the next minute, the Miners allowed the Rams to rip off a 6-0 spurt in the final minute to separate themselves for the win.
Keeping teams from running up big offensive numbers has been the key for UTEP this season. The Miners are allowing just 63.8 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting. Julian Washburn (13.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and John Bohannon (11.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg) are the top scorers on the roster, while anchoring the team in the paint. Konner Tucker (12.4 ppg) missed the first seven games of the season but has been solid in the backcourt despite a five-point effort against Colorado State.
Tulane had trouble with Wofford in the first half and went into the break tied 27-27, after hitting just seven field goals in the first half. The Green Wave bounced back after intermission by limiting Wofford to 26.9 percent shooting, while improving to 44.0 percent itself en route to the 12-point win.
The Green Wave have been an even better defensive team than UTEP this season as they allow just 56.7 points per game on 41.2 percent shooting. The Green Wave's defensive scoring average is among the 20 best in the country as is the numbers of rebounds Tulane allows to opponents (29.7 pg). Those efforts have led to margins of +10.4 and +7.3 in scoring and rebounding, respectfully. Tulane is prone to cold shooting nights however as the team ranks 10th in the conference in field-goal percentage (.418). Leading the charge for Tulane is Josh Davis (18. ppg, 10.3 rpg). The 6-foot-8 forward is one of 16 players in the country to be averaging a double-double on the campaign. Also scoring well are Ricky Tarrant (14.4 ppg) and Jordan Callahan (12.3 ppg), although Tarrant could use improvement on his shooting, as he hits less than 35 percent of his shots.
Davis might just be the leading candidate for C-USA Player of the Year as league play gets underway and he should be able to yet again carry the Green Wave to a victory at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulane 71, Texas-El Paso 63
01/09 10:33:04 ET