Interim coach Phil Johnson sparks UTEP basketball program

A few weeks ago, the UTEP basketball program was reeling with the news that Tim Floyd had retired from coaching. Today, it’s a different story, with interim coach Phil Johnson leading the Miners to back-to-back victories over New Mexico and Washington State. Read the story by Bill Knight of the El Paso Times.

Resurgence at Stephen F. Austin

Last season, the fortunes of the Stephen F. Austin basketball program declined in coach Kyle Keller’s first year on the job. The Lumberjacks finished 18-15 with a first-round loss in the Tournament. It was a shock to fans who had experienced three straight trips to the NCAA tournament under the previous coach, Brad Underwood. Keller seems to have SFA moving in the right direction again, with the Lumberjacks (9-1) knocking off two Conference USA programs last week.

Freshman star on the rise

After a close loss at Arizona last weekend, Coach Avery Johnson’s Alabama Crimson Tide returns home next week to open a three-game stand. The Tide will play Mercer on Dec. 19 in Huntsville. Alabama meets Texas on Dec. 22 in Birmingham. Finally, the Tide hosts Texas A&M on Dec. 30 at Tuscaloosa in an SEC opener. With dynamic freshman Collin Sexton, Alabama has a chance for a run to the NCAA tournament this season. Sexton dumped 30 on Arizona in an 88-82 setback Saturday night.