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October 14, 2008

Basketball picked fourth in preseason C-USA poll

The UTEP men's basketball team is picked to finish fourth in Conference USA this season by league coaches. The C-USA preseason poll was announced Oct. 14.

The Miners, 19-14 last season, return seven letterwinners and three starters from a squad that reached the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament and earned a bid to the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.

Among UTEP's list of returnees is C-USA leading scorer Stefon Jackson (23.6 ppg) and the league's 2008 sixth man of the year, Randy Culpepper.

The Miners also introduce a talented group of newcomers headed by 7-0 Memphis transfer Kareem Cooper.

UTEP will open the 2008-09 season with an exhibition game versus Sul Ross State Nov. 8, followed by the regular season opener against Texas Southern Nov. 14.

Memphis is the preseason favorite in Conference USA, with UAB second, Tulsa third, UTEP fourth and Southern Miss fifth. UAB's Robert Vaden is the preseason league player of the year.

UTEP's Jackson joins Vaden, Memphis' Robert Dozier, Tulsa's Jerome Jordan and UCF's Jermaine Taylor on the preseason All-Conference USA Team.

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