Feb 22, 2014; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; UTEP Miners head coach Tim Floyd talks to his players in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Reed Green Coliseum. Southern Miss won, 77-68. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Conference USA Tournament Preview: (12) East Carolina vs. (5) UTEP

Twelfth-seeded ECU (17-15, 5-11 C-USA), fresh off their come-from-behind victory over UTSA, takes on fifth-seeded and tournament host UTEP (22-9, 12-4 C-USA) in the second round of the Conference USA tournament. The game tips off at 8:00pm ET at Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.

How they got here: East Carolina came from behind to defeat UTSA 79-76 last night in the first round. The Pirates trailed by nearly twenty points in the first half but Akeem Richmond shot 11-19 from the 3-point line to propel ECU to the hard-fought victory. UTEP received a first round bye for their unlikely 12-4 record during the conference season. The Miners are currently on a two-game winning streak after defeat in-state rivals North Texas and UTSA on the road to close out the regular season.

Regular season matchup:
UTEP defeated East Carolina 58-47 in Greenville.

Who to watch for on UTEP:
Conference USA Freshman of the Year Vince Hunter (12.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.3apg) was a pleasant surprise for the Miners this season after so much turmoil affected the team before the conference season started. CJ Cooper (10.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.8apg) has played most of the season as the only true guard in the Miners lineup and will need to stay out of foul trouble when defending the sharpshooting backcourt of the Pirates.

Winner takes on: Fourth-seeded Southern Miss in the quarterfinals at 6pm ET.

Tags: Basketball Conference USA

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