March 13, 2011
New York, NY --- The University of New Mexico Lobos have qualified for the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, as they were selected for the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) as a No. 4-seed in the tournament. The Lobos will host the UTEP Miners on Tuesday evening at The Pit tipping off at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
New Mexico will enter the game with a record of 21-12, while UTEP will come in with a record of 25-9. The teams have played several common opponents. Both teams swept New Mexico State and both teams played Air Force, with UTEP winning 71-54, and New Mexico winning 75-61 and 66-61. The only difference is BYU, with the Lobos going 2-1 against the Cougars, and the Miners losing 89-68.
The two teams share a long and rich history with each other, including a shared affiliation with the Western Athletic Conference. New Mexico has a 75-65 lead in the series that started Feb. 21, 1929.
UNM has a 47-21 lead in games played in Albuquerque, including 25-10 in The Pit. Since February of 1991, the Lobos have won 10 of the past 12 meetings versus UTEP at Bob King Court. The Lobos and Miners played every year from 1955-99. As members of the Western Athletic Conference from 1967-99, the two schools met 66 times with UNM holding a slight 34-32 lead.
New Mexico athletics has established ticket prices for the first round NIT matchup with the Miners. Tickets for the event are $5 for UNM Students with a valid UNM ID, $10 tickets for adults/youth and lobo level/suites holders/club level tickets are $15. Parking will be $5 for the game.
Lobo men's basketball season tickets holders will be available to purchase their tickets tomorrow from 8:30-6 p.m. at the Lobo Ticket Office in person. All current UNM season ticket holders seats will be held until 6 p.m. then they will be released for purchase to the all fans.
Beginning at 6pm tomorrow and leading up to game, fans will be able to purchase their tickets online at www.unmtickets.com, at participating Albertson's ticket outlets (Click here for a complete listing) or at the Lobo ticket office in The Pit all day Tuesday.
The NIT is the second-oldest college basketball postseason tournament, having been established in 1938, and it outdates the NCAA Tournament. The NIT is owned and controlled by the NCAA and has been since 2005. Last year, the Dayton Flyers won the NIT title over North Carolina
The Lobos will be playing in their 19th NIT, and the Lobos are 17-19 all-time in the tournament. The Lobos last played in the NIT in 2009 when the Lobos hosted Nebraska and won 75-67 before losing at Notre Dame 70-68. New Mexico has a nine-game home winning streak in the NIT, and the Lobos have won 19-straight non-conference home games, dating back to January 6, 2009, when the Lobos lost to UTEP 73-60.
The Lobos made it all the way to New York in 1990, losing in the semifinals to St. Louis 80-73. The Lobos are the fourth-seed in their portion of the bracket, and with a win they would either face the No. 1 seed Alabama, or the No. 8 seed Coastal Carolina.
However, New Mexico will be entering the tournament without their senior leader Dairese Gary, who was diagnosed with a season-ending torn ACL in his right leg. The injury occurred early in the second half of the Mountain West semifinals against BYU.