The Mountain West Conference released the University of New Mexico’s men’s and women’s basketball conference schedules on Friday, Aug. 13. For a women’s program that finished on top of the conference standings in regular season play last season, this new schedule could act as a roadmap to a future tournament win; for a men’s team that finished last in its own said standings, conference play will be just one of many challenges for the team.
Women’s basketball finished 11-3 in conference play last season, losing to only three teams: the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; California State University, Fresno; and the United States Air Force Academy. During tournament play, after the Lobos lost to Fresno State in the second round, they were supposed to play against San Jose State University and the University of Wyoming (the eventual Mountain West tournament champion) but the games were both canceled after one of UNM’s players tested positive for COVID-19.
This season, the female Lobos will be playing in Wyoming on Jan. 13 and will consequently host the Wyoming Cowgirls in New Mexico on Feb. 5, making up for those canceled games.
Other matchups with formidable opponents to look forward to include:
- UNLV — who finished 13-5 in conference — on Jan. 3 (home) and Jan. 27 (away)
- Colorado State University — who finished 11-5 in conference — on Jan. 15 (away) and Feb. 2 (home)
- Fresno State — who finished 12-6 in conference — on Jan. 22 (home) and Feb. 23 (away)
Meanwhile, men’s basketball finished their last season with a feeble score of 2-15 in conference play, beating only San Jose State and Air Force once each. These Lobos will face a formidable team immediately in conference play on Dec. 28 at home against Colorado State, who finished 14-4 in the conference play last season.
The conference remains strong after CSU, particularly with regards to San Diego State University, who finished 14-3 in conference play, won the Mountain West tournament and was the conference’s representative in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament; UNM will play the San Diego Aztecs at home on Jan. 15 and again in San Diego on Feb. 1.
Also sure to be tough matchups are the games with Utah State — who finished 15-4 in conference — on Jan. 8 (home) and Feb. 22 (away) and Boise State — who finished 14-6 in conference — on Feb. 8 (home).
The non-conference schedules for both men’s and women’s basketball will be announced as the season comes closer, with the women’s team most likely hoping to score several NCAA-tournament-level teams and the men needing easier competition before a tough conference run. Conference game times will be set after input is received from major television networks and dates could still potentially be changed.
Matthew Salcido is the sports editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @baggyeyedguy