NMSU releases basketball schedule

The New Mexico State men's basketball team announced its 2003-04 schedule this week which includes 12 road games, 15 home games and is highlighted by a ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday game in late February.

The 2003-04 New Mexico State men's basketball schedule was released on Thursday and it features several home games and some tough non-conference road trips.

NMSU, which went 20-9 a year ago, will play 16 games at home, including rivals contests against New Mexico on Dec. 3 and Texas-El Paso on Dec. 6. The Aggies open the regular season on Nov. 22 against New Mexico Highlands in the Pan Am Center.

"We had thought we were going to have to play a 20-game league schedule, but that didn't transpire, so we had to scramble for our schedule, but it worked well for us," said NMSU head coach Lou Henson of next year's slate.

The Aggies will visit Tulsa on Dec. 14, UTEP on Dec. 18 and New Mexico Dec. 22. And the Aggies will compete in one tournament, as they visit Logan, Utah, for the Utah State Tournament. The Aggies will take on Texas-San Antonio in one game, while Utah State will take on San Francisco in the other.

If NMSU and Utah State reach the finals, it will be a rematch of the old Big West days when both schools went up against each other twice a year. "We have a pretty competitive non-conference schedule," Henson said. "UTEP brought in a lot of good players and they have some good ones coming back. New Mexico should be better with lots of new guys, including big man Danny Granger. He transferred from Bradley and I had someone tell me the other day he's NBA material. Tulsa is always good and that game is a start of a series."

The Aggies will also host an ESPN Bracket Buster game on Saturday, Feb. 21. The Bracket Buster concept was introduced a year ago and it matches up some of the nation's NCAA Tournament hopefuls just weeks before the NCAA Tournament begins. NMSU is one of four Sun Belt teams invited to play on Bracket Buster Saturday. The other teams are Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette and Middle Tennessee.

"Playing the Bracket Buster game is great and it gives us a chance to play a really tough non-conference game and gain some exposure," Henson said.

The Aggies open up Sun Belt play on Jan 10 at North Texas. In addition to its game at UNT, the Aggies will play at UL Lafayette, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, New Orleans and South Alabama and Denver. UNO, South Alabama, Florida International, Denver, North Texas, UL Lafayette, Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas State visit Las Cruces.

"The league should be better and we're looking forward to a tough league schedule," Henson said. Felix Chavez can be reached at fchavez@lcsun-news.com

NMSU's 2003-04 schedule 2003-04 Men's Basketball Schedule

Sat.Nov. 22 vs. New Mexico Highlands Pan American Center 7:05 p.m.

Mon. Nov. 24 vs. Texas-Arlington Pan American Center 7:05 p.m.

Sat. Nov. 29 vs. Eastern New Mexico Pan American Center 7:05 p.m.

Wed. Dec. 3 vs. New Mexico Pan American Center 7:05 p.m.

Sat. Dec. 6 vs. UTEP Pan American Center 7:05 p.m.

Sun. Dec. 14 at Tulsa TBA

Thurs. Dec. 18 at UTEP 7:05 p.m.

Sat. Dec. 20 at Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7:05 p.m.

Mon. Dec. 22 at New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. 7:05 p.m.

Mon. Dec. 29-30 at Utah State Tournament vs. Texas-San Antonio TBA

vs. Utah State or San Francisco TBA

Sat. Jan. 10 at North Texas 6:05 p.m.

Thurs. Jan. 15 vs. New Orleans 7:05 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 17 vs. South Alabama 7:05 p.m.

Wed. Jan. 21 at UL-Lafayette 6:05 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 24 vs. Texas-Pan American 7:05 p.m.

Mon. Jan. 26 vs. Florida International 7:05 p.m.

Thurs. Jan. 29 at Middle Tennessee 6:05 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 31 at Western Kentucky 6:05 p.m.

Thurs. Feb. 5 vs. Denver 7:05 p.m.

Sat. Feb. 7 vs. North Texas 7:05 p.m.

Thurs. Feb. 12 at New Orleans 6:05 p.m.

Sat. Feb. 14 at South Alabama 6:05 p.m.

Wed. Feb. 18 vs. UL-Lafayette 7:05 p.m.

Sat. Feb. 21 vs. TBA Bracket Buster TBA

Mon. Feb. 23 at Denver 7:05 p.m.

Thurs. Feb. 26 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock 7:05 p.m.

Sat. Feb. 28 vs. Arkansas State 7:05 p.m.

Mar. 4-9 @ Sun Belt Conference Tournament Bowling Green, Ky.TBA

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