Due to the unbalanced schedule (made necessary by the league's 11-team line up for basketball) , UNM will not play the Cowboys on the road of the Rams at home. Instead, UNM will have MWC home-and-homes with Utah State, San Jose State and Nevada along with archrivals San Diego State and UNLV as well as Boise State, Air Force and Fresno State.
New Mexico opens MWC play against Nevada Wolf Pack on Wednesday, December 30 at WisePies Arena aka The Pit. And closes the home slate of league games against the Aztecs on Wednesday, March 2. UNM’s final MWC game of the season in Saturday, March 5 at Nevada.
The dates released by the Mountain West will likely for television broadcasts, and may be moved from Wednesday to Tuesday and from Saturday to Sunday as part of the national television package, according to the MWC. Times for all games will be finalized at a later date.
The Lobos’ non-conference schedule includes games Northern Iowa, Southern Cal, Rice and Purdue and New Mexico is also scheduled to participate in the 2015 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu during Christmas with a field that includes Auburn, BYU, Harvard, Hawai’i, Oklahoma and Washington State. The non-conference schedule is close to being completed, said UNM in a press release Wednesday.
So which MWC team benefitted most from the unbalanced schedule? UNM seems to be in that chair this season as Colorado St. is expected to be down. Air Force and San Jose State appear to catch breaks as the Falcons avoid a road game at Boise State but lose a home game to SDSU, which almost cancels out the advantage. Same thing for the Spartans, who avoid a road trip to Nevada but lose a home game with UNLV. Though neither of those teams are expected to challenge for a league title.
Among the teams that are expected to be in the MWC championship fight, SDSU avoids a road trip to the high altitude Air Force and loses a home game against Nevada. That’s almost a negative for the Aztecs. UNLV, same boat as they lose a road trip to SJSU but lose a home game to Utah State and most play on the Aggies’ hostile home court without a return trip to the Thomas and Mack.
At first sight, the unbalanced schedule seems to work out this season in terms of advantage/disadvantage. But that could change as we find out more about teams when they get into pre-season workouts.