I think so.
I haven't seen all of the NMSU games in person but UTEP has stood out to me. Regardless of the competition they have played, they seem like a team who could do some things in C USA this season.
Speaking to Tony Barbee prior to the first NMSU/UTEP game, he talked about how it takes time to build the kind of team he wanted. He said that it's hard to get the support and patience that it takes to build a program. That is a comparison to NMSU, but Barbee's teams have improved throughout his three years while the Aggies have been up and down.
Barbee wanted to build a team where you couldn't focus on one particular player and despite losing Stefon Jackson, the Miners are better.
The Miners have six players who average at least eight per game. Their best player and leading scorer, power forward Arnett Moultrie, didn't even need to have a good game against the Aggies on Dec. 1 but he is leading the Miners with 13 and 6 per game. I believe that Moultrie and UTEP point guard Julyan Stone are the best players the Aggies will play against at those positions this year. With the possible exception of Luke Babbitt, who has a better perimeter game and shooting touch than Moultrie right now.
Some of UTEP's stats that stood out to me:
Second in C USA with 80.2 ppg, second in scoring margin, beating their opponents by 19.8 per game, first in field goal percentage, shooing 49 percent before adding Derrick Caracter and field goal percentage defense at 36 percent.
I think UNM is having a good year and would love to see the two regional teams play this year, but even though the MIners' schedule hasn't been that tough, they are athletic, talented and deep and their early schedule has given them some confidence early, which can't be understated.