Cunzo Martin previews UTEP
Matchup: UTEP vs. Tennessee
When: Thursday, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas.
TV, radio: NBC Sports Network; WMNL-AM 990, WMNL-FM 99.1
Records: UTEP (3-2), Tennessee (3-1)
Coaches: UTEP, Tim Floyd (61-43 at UTEP, 389-223 overall); Tennessee, Cuonzo Martin (42-29, 103-70 overall).
Series: UTEP leads 1-0.
UTEP G McKenzie Moore (Jr., 6-6, 200, 14 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.3 apg) vs. UT G Josh Richardson (Jr., 6-6, 190, 6.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg): Moore has been cleared to play after missing a game due to a concussion. He’s the Miners’ best scoring threat, which means he’ll likely draw the Vols’ best defender.
UTEP F Cedrick Lang (Jr. 6-10, 255, 11 ppg, 7.3 rpg) vs. UT F Jarnell Stokes (6-8, 260, 11.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg): Lang is getting better as the season progresses. When Martin mentions UTEP’s length, he is in part talking about the big guy who could give Stokes trouble on the block.
If UT is serious about creating a rematch with Xavier, or dethroning an undefeated Iowa team, it needs to handle UTEP without using every ounce of energy. This game, win or lose, will set the tone for the tournament. Look for the Vols to go first to their bigs. If UTEP’s size wins out, the Vols’ guards will need to take over.