ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Mountain West’s announcement Tuesday that there will be two divisions – dubbed “Mountain” and “West” – for football starting in the 2013-14 season won’t affect basketball.
But the league will expand to 11 basketball-playing members and increase the 2013-14 MW basketball schedule to 18 league games for the first time in the conference’s 14-year history.
That means each league basketball team will play eight MW opponents twice in a season with the same home-and-home set up as this season and two conference foes just once each season. The teams that play one another only once in a season will be rotated each season.
Tuesday’s announcement also said discussions are still being had on how the league will format the postseason tournament for men’s and women’s basketball.
The addition of two league games also means that the conference that forced it’s way onto the national radar this season with the best non-conference performance in MW history will have two fewer non-conference games at their disposal for scheduling, which was a consideration in not expanding to 20 league games to allow for a balanced basketball schedule.
UNM went 13-2 in it’s non-conference schedule this season. It can schedule just 13 league games next season. A 20-game MW schedule would cut that to 10 or 11 non-conference games each season.
UNM Director of Athletics Paul Krebs on Wednesday told the Journal in a text message that it was too early to tell what the non-conference scheduling may look like or if it may affect the annual home-and-home non-conference rivalry series with New Mexico State University.
The MW played 14-game league schedules from it’s inception in the 1999-2000 season through the 2004-05 season and again in 2011-12. It played 16-game schedules in the six seasons in between before returning to the 16-game format this season.