The UTEP men’s basketball team will embark on its first foreign tour in 12 years on Tuesday.
The Miners will spend four full days in Costa Rica, where they will play three games versus Canadian teams while sampling the culture and landscape of the beautiful Central American country.
“Ideally what we’d like out of this trip is for everybody to get a lot of minutes,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “We’ve got three ballgames. We’d like for our players to play in different situations, different roles. We might have big lineups out there with big guards. We might have three small guards out there at one time, and two bigs at one time. We’re hoping for some kind of carryover from what we’ve worked on in practice. We’d like to come out of this injury-free and we’d like to come out of it a more experienced team.”
The Miners will depart for Dallas on Tuesday morning, and arrive in San Jose at 6 p.m. local time. They have games scheduled versus McGill University on Wednesday (7 p.m.) and Thursday (5 p.m.), and the University of British Columbia on Friday (11:30 a.m.). The team will arrive in El Paso mid-afternoon on Sunday after enjoying an off-day Saturday.
The Miners’ visit will include a tour of San Jose on Wednesday, a visit to the Holy Spirit orphanage on Thursday, a walk across a crocodile bridge on Friday and a Zip Line experience on Saturday.
From a basketball standpoint, the Miners will take on a McGill University team out of Montreal that has already played four games versus Division I opponents this month. The Redmen lost to Alabama (96-57), SMU (86-83 in overtime) and Towson (84-53) in Montreal and beat Kent State (85-79) on Monday afternoon in Costa Rica.
The starting lineup for the first game against McGill University, based on a fan vote, will feature three freshmen – forward Tirus Smith and guards Evan Gilyard and Trey Wade, who will joined by senior forward Jake Flaggert and senior center Matt Willms.
NCAA teams are permitted to take foreign tours once every four years. The 2005-06 Miners went to Madrid and the Canary Islands and also played three games versus Telde, UD Vecindario and Gran Canaria.