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Reasons to Like: UTEP

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In a bold experiment in democracy, we asked you, the readers, if we should run the Reasons to Hate feature for the UTEP game this week. After a close initial race, the 'no' votes pulled away to a solid victory at the end, so we will bend to the will of the people and abstain from our usual angry malevolence. 

Instead, we present to you the very rare Reasons to Like...but never fear, the hate will return next week.

1. Nolan. The current head coach of the Tulsa Shock was born and raised in El Paso, and played college basketball at UTEP for the legendary Don Haskins (more about him in a bit). So, in an indirect way we have UTEP to thank for the 1994 national title. Much obliged, guys.

2. Their Coach Has Been Known to Wield a Giant Pick Axe (As Pictured). That's kind of cool. Other interesting facts about UTEP coach Mike Price? For one, he was an early mentor of Bobby Petrino, and they remain friendly. Also, you might recall that he was the Alabama coach for about five minutes before an ill-advised trip to Pensacola to party with some strippers got him canned from that job. Anyone who embarrasses the TIde is ok in our book.

3. Their Historic 1966 NCAA Basketball Title. As most everyone is aware by now, Haskins led his all-black Texas Western (now UTEP) team to the 1966 NCAA Championship Game, where they shocked the world against segregationist Adolph Rupp and his Kenucky Wildcats. It's a cool enough story on its own, but beating UK is the icing on the cake.

4. One Helluva Song. Ok, Marty Robbins' "El Paso" is about the city, not the school, but it's close enough to make our Reasons to Like list. It's hard not to like a team even remotely with this jam (not to mention Robbins' awesome outfit, mustache and stance):