Men's Basketball Draws Indiana State in MW-MVC Challenge
April 23, 2012
Colorado Springs, Colo.--- As a part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge, the University of New Mexico Lobos will head east to take on the Indiana State Sycamores on December 1 in Terre Haute, Ind.
The game will match head coach Steve Alford against his former Iowa assistant Greg Lansing. It obviously brings Alford back to his home state, as he led Indiana University to the 1987 national title, and he starred at New Castle High, which is about 2 1/2 hours from the Sycamore campus.
New Mexico is a perfect 3-0 under Alford in the challenge, and this game marks the second in a row that has interesting ties to the UNM head coach. Last year UNM defeated Missouri State 76-60 in the MW-MVC Challenge, and Alford served as the head coach at MSU (then Southwest Missouri State) from 1995-99.
"I think the game with Indiana State will be a good matchup," said UNM head coach Steve Alford, who has presided over the winningest five-year period in Lobo basketball history. "I am looking forward to the MW-MVC Challenge."
The Lobos were 28-7 last season, advancing to the NCAA Tournament's third round after winning both the regular season and conference tournament titles. Indiana State went 18-15 and lost to Robert Morris in the CIT.
The agreement between the MW and MVC is in the final year of a four-year term. In each of the first two years, the Challenge featured head-to-head competition between nine Mountain West and nine Missouri Valley teams, while last year's Challenge consisted of eight games. Nine matchups will make up the 2012 Challenge, with Mountain West teams hosting four of the contests. Seven of the nine games will take place the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4 while the remaining two contests are scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 19. Bradley will be the MVC team that does not participate in the 2012 Challenge Series.
The Mountain West won the 2010 Challenge, 8-1, and holds a 16-10 lead in the first three years of the series after the two conferences split last year's matchups, 4-4. Last season, the leagues combined for six NCAA tournament appearances, which included second-round wins by New Mexico and Creighton. Overall, the two conferences earned a collective 13 postseason berths and seven postseason victories in 2011-12.
2012 CHALLENGE DATES Series Records Nov. 17 San Diego State at Missouri State Series tied, 2-2; last meeting 3/14/07 Nov. 28 Boise State at Creighton First meeting Nov. 28 Fresno State at Southern Illinois SIU leads, 1-0; only meeting 3/9/66 Dec. 1 Wichita State at Air Force WSU leads, 1-0; only meeting 1/26/63 Dec. 1 Evansville at Colorado State First meeting Dec. 1 Drake at Nevada Drake leads, 3-0; last meeting 12/16/69 Dec. 1 New Mexico at Indiana State First meeting Dec. 4 Wyoming at Illinois State UW leads, 1-0; only meeting 12/28/85 Dec. 19 UNI at UNLV UNI leads, 0-1; only meeting 3/18/10
The Mountain West has ranked among the Top 9 in the NCAA's final RPI report in 12 of the last 13 years, including two straight No. 5 rankings, while the Valley has been among the Top 9 in seven of the last eight seasons. Teams from the two leagues have squared off 67 times since the inception of the Mountain West in 1999, with MW squads holding a 38-29 edge in those contests.
The Mountain West and Missouri Valley combined to place nine teams in the Top 100 of the RPI last season, including six in the Top 50. Two teams (Creighton-21; New Mexico-23) finished in the 2011-12 final USA Today/ESPN Top-25 Coaches' poll, while three more (San Diego State, UNLV, Wichita State) joined the Bluejays and Lobos in the final Associated Press poll released prior to the NCAA tournament.