Lobos head men's basketball coach Steve Alford announced the 2011-12 schedule on Wednesday. The 30-game schedule features 16 out-of-conference games, the most in school history, as well as 18 home games.
Among the home games is a match up against former Utah coach Rick Majerus's St. Louis Billikens, who finished 12-19 last season. Also on the slate are Missouri Valley Conference champion Missouri State, which finished 23-9 and finished with a loss in the National Invitational Tournament's second round to the University of Miami.
The Lobos play the Bears, who were coached by Alford when the school was known as Southwestern Missouri State from 1995 to 1999, as part of the nationally televised Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge on The Mtn.
"With a lot of returning players and experience from a year ago and the loss of two conference teams, a lot of emphasis was put on the strength of our non-conference schedule," said head coach Steve Alford in a release.
11 of UNM's 16 non-conference opponents finished with 16 wins or more in the 2010-11 season, including Division I independents New Orleans (16-6) and North Dakota (19-15). Missouri-Kansas City, out of the Summit League, also finished with a winning record at 16-14. Big Sky members Idaho State and Montana State, which both finished with mediocre records in 2010-11, are also on the home schedule. Also on the schedule is Houston Baptist, which finished with one of the worst records in Division I last season and just four wins, as well as in-state rivals New Mexico State.
UNM faces a challenging slate of games on the road and on neutral courts, headlined by the Lobos participating on The 76 Classic as well as the 76th Annual All-College Basketball Classic, the nation's oldest collegiate basketball tournament.
UNM begins The 76 Classic against West Coast Conference member Santa Clara, a team that won 24 games last season on the way to capturing the CollegeINsiders.com postseason tournament title. The Lobos will also face off against either Washington State or Oklahoma in the second round of the 76 Classic, with a potential final round match up against Villanova or Boston College.
The Lobos will face two Pac-12 opponents Arizona State and Southern California on the road as well as Oklahoma State in Oklahoma City for the 76th All-College Classic.
21 of UNM's 30 games will be broadcast on national and regional television, including four games on ESPN's family of networks, and a February 18 home game against UNLV in The Pit on CBS.
The Lobos also have four games on CBS Sports Network, (formerly the CBS College Sports Network) including both games against San Diego State, as well as two on the NBC Sports Network (which will be known as Versus until January 2012), including their regular season closer against newcomers Boise State.
UNM opens the season with a pair of exhibition games against Division II schools Davenport (Tues., Nov. 1) and Western New Mexico (Sat., Nov. 5) before opening the season against New Orleans (Fri., Nov. 11) and New Mexico State (Wed., Nov. 16).
The Lobos start Mountain West play on Sat., Jan. 14 at Wyoming at 1:30 p.m. UNM's MWC home opener is Wed. Jan 18 in The Pit against San Diego State. The Lobos close out the regular season against Air Force on Wed. Feb. 29 and Boise State on Sat. March 3 before moving on to the Mountain West Conference Tournament, Thurs. March 8 through Sat. March 10.
2011-12 UNM Men's Basketball Schedule
(Home games in bold) All times Mountain time zone
Tues., Nov. 1, 7 p.m. (Ex.) Davenport (no TV)
Sat., Nov. 5, 7 p.m. (Ex.) Western New Mexico (no TV)
Fri., Nov. 11, 7 p.m. New Orleans (no TV)
Wed., Nov. 16, 8 pm New Mexico State The Pit (The Mtn.)
Fri. Nov. 18, time TBA at Arizona State Tempe, Ariz. (noTV)
The 76 Classic
(hosted by The Big West Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim Calif.)
Thurs. Nov. 24, 7 pm vs. Santa Clara (ESPNU)
Fri. Nov. 25, 7:30/10 pm vs. Oklahoma/Washington State (ESPN 2/ESPN-U)
Sun. Nov. 27, time TBA vs. Villanova/UC Riverside/Boston College/St. Louis (ESPN/2/ESPN-U)
Wed., Nov. 30, 7p.m. Idaho State (no TV)
Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge
Sat.Dec. 3, 8 p.m. Missouri State The Pit (The Mtn.)
Sat. Dec. 10, time TBA at USC
The 76th Annual All-College Basketball Classic
Sat. Dec. 17, time TBA vs. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma City, Okla. (ESPN/2/U)
Tues. Dec. 20, 7 p.m. Montana State (no TV)
Thurs. Dec. 22, 7 p.m. UMKC The Pit (no TV)
Wed. Dec. 28, time TBA at New Mexico State Las Cruces, N.M. (TV TBA)
Sat. Dec. 31, 4 p.m. St. Louis The Pit (The Mtn.)
Tues. Jan. 3, 7 p.m. Houston Baptist The (No TV)
Sat. Jan. 7, Time TBA North Dakota The Pit (No TV)
Sat. Jan. 14, 1:30 p.m. *at Wyoming (The Mtn.)
Wed. Jan. 18, time TBA *San Diego State (CBSSN)
Sat. Jan. 21, time TBA *at UNLV Las Vegas, Nev. (CBSSN)
Wed. Jan. 25, time TBA *Colorado State (CBSSN)
Sat. Jan. 28, 4 p.m. *TCU (The Mtn.)
Tues. Jan. 31, 8 p.m. *at Air Force (The Mtn.)
Sat. Feb. 4, time TBA *at Boise State (NBCSN)
Sat. Feb. 11, 1:30 pm *Wyoming (The Mtn.)
Wed. Feb. 15, time TBA *at San Diego State (CBSSN)
Sat. Feb. 18, 11 a.m. *UNLV CBS-TV
Tues. Feb. 21, 8 p.m. *at Colorado State (The Mtn.)
Sat. Feb. 25, 5 p.m. *at TCU (The Mtn.)
Wed. Feb. 29, 6 p.m. *Air Force The Pit (The Mtn.)
Sat. March 3, 2 p.m. *Boise State (NBC Sports Net)
Mountain West Tournament
Thursday March 8 Quarterfinals Las Vegas, Nev. TBA The Mtn/CBSSN
Friday March 9 Semifinals Las Vegas, Nev. 6/8:30 p.m. CBSSN
Saturday March 10 Championship Las Vegas, Nev. 4 p.m. NBCSN
CBSSN = CBS Sports Network, NBCSN = NBC Sports Network