El Paso Times

UTEP, Kentucky hope to commemorate 50th anniversary of 1966 title game in 2016


After returning to Cole Field House for the program’s midnight madness-style event on Friday night, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon discussed the possibility of the Terrapins playing a regular season game at their old home. Now playing their home game at the Comcast Center, Maryland called Cole home from 1955 to 2002.

Who knows if the folks at Maryland will ultimately play a game at Cole, as there’s a need to make sure the arena is up to code before they’re able to do so. But if those renovations are made, there’s another possible game that should be considered for the old building.

On Wednesday UTEP head coach Tim Floyd announced that a plan is in the works to have the Miners take on Kentucky in 2016, fifty years after UTEP’s historic victory over the Wildcats in the national title game at Cole.

Known as Texas Western back in 1966, the Miners were the first national champion to have an all-black starting lineup and they won the crown against a program that had yet to integrate. The Miners’ victory was a watershed moment for both sports and American society as a whole, with the result changing the course of college basketball.

2016 is a long ways away, especially in the world of non-conference scheduling, so there’s always the chances that things could change. But hopefully this game will take place, as it can be a good learning experience for all involved. And three years could be the amount of time needed for the folks at Maryland to spruce up Cole Field House. While the primary reason for that would clearly be to benefit Maryland, it would be nice to see the Miners and Wildcats meet in the building where the original contest took place.

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.