First of all, the Aggies are 1.5 point underdogs on Tuesday so perhaps the folks in Vegas aren't sold on the Miners' competition yet either.
UTEP forward Arnett Moultrie continues to be a NBA Draft prospect. This board has him as high 10th ahead of some big names including Luke Babbitt, Paul George, Magnum Rolle, Sylvester Seay and Roderick Flemings.
While speaking to UTEP coach Tony Barbee today, he compared Jahmar Young to former UTEP star Stefon Jackson. I think it's a good comparison. Maybe Jackson had a little more athleticism but JY is a better shooter in my opinion.
"Neither was a great shooter but they are both just scorers. He is just like Stefon because he has an ability to create fouls on whoever his opponent is and that reminds me of DJ."
Here is JY's response
"I thank Coach Barbee for the accolade. I'm an east coast guard and so is DJ. He is from up the street 45 minutes away. Just that east coast toughness."
Here are some thoughts from Marvin Menzies
UTEP point guard Julyan Stone is a triple double waiting to happen. He's averaging 11, 7 and six assists per game with just a handful of turnovers. It will be interesting to see how his size (6-6) gives the Aggies any problems since Laroche and Gib are both at 6-foot.
"He's long and very athletic. It's not just having big point that can't maneuver defensively. He's a very good defender. In that sense it could cause problems on the defensive end but I think we will be OK. Our offense is really based on defensive reads anyway so depending on how they play us, we will hopefully make the right decisions."
I asked coach about playing man-to-man, which they have looked good in at times recently, although not against teams as talented as UTEP.
"We got to get better at it so we have been playing it. It's something we plan on doing a lot this year so we have to keep doing it to get better at it."
Hamidu Rahman on the UTEP rivalry
"I feel that this is going to be bigger than the UNM game. They are our next door neighbors so we have to get ready for it."
Rahman on how good UTEP is
"They are not taking crazy shots like they were last year. They were taking shots from halfcourt last year. Moultrie is better. They iso him on the top of the wing in the film that I watched."