UTEP Wins their First Conference USA Title

December 1, 2010 Sportsbook

Sportsbook had UTEP winning their first-ever Conference USA title on Tuesday as they got past Marshall.

While the Miners are 23-5 straight up, they are just 12-12 this season against the odds at the Internet sportsbook.

Sportsbook has seen UTEP win a school record 13 straight conference games but Conference USA is not that good and even with the 23 wins, UTEP is not guaranteed to go to the NCAA Tournament.  It is still a great accomplishment for the Miners to win a league dominated in the past by Memphis.  “It’s ours,” UTEP head coach Tony Barbee said. “We’re going to enjoy it. How much time that is, I don’t know. We can’t feel comfortable with where we’re at.”

UTEP is currently #21 in the ESPN/USA Today poll as sportsbook indicates and #24 in the AP poll so they are probably going to make the NCAA Tournament.  Randy Culpepper had 32 points in the 80-76 sportsbook win over Marshall on Tuesday. That was just a day after UTEP got into the Top 25 in the polls for the first time since 1992. The Miners can get the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by winning next week’s Conference USA Tournament as Internet sportsbook indicates and a lot of bubble teams hope they do.  If they get upset in the tournament in sportsbook results they would probably steal an at-large bid from one of the bubble teams. “There’s no other guarantees at this point, so we’ve got business to take care of,” Barbee said.

Culpepper is a player who can impact the odds at the sportsbook.  He is the third-leading scorer in Conference USA at 18.1 points per game. He has the two highest-scoring games in the league this Internet sportsbook season. The win by UTEP was their seventh straight on the road. “There’s no way you win on the road in the places we win without being mentally tough and I thought we showed that again tonight,” Barbee said. “Tough place to play. Tough place to win at. But we’ve got one of those type of teams.”

Teams that win on the road do well in the NCAA Tournament so that is something to keep in mind as you look at March Madness sportsbook odds. The Miners won’t get a lot of respect at the Internet sportsbook but they could be a surprise team in the tournament.