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Lobos basketball gets prime exposure

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The Lobos won’t lack national exposure this season.

The Mountain West Conference on Friday unveiled the league portion of the 2013-14 men’s basketball schedule, including broadcast details of ESPN and CBS Sports Network games.

The University of New Mexico will have 16 of its 30 games in the 2013-14 season televised on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and online at ESPN3.com), with another seven on the CBS Sports Network.

“It’s going to be the most exposure we’ve had here,” UNM head coach Craig Neal said. “I think even when they had ‘Big Monday’ (late night games televised several years ago on ESPN), it was once a week or you got it like once a month maybe. With us being able to play 16 games on ESPN, that’s a huge deal. It’s huge national exposure for our program. It helps with recruiting.”

Of the remaining seven games on the Lobos regular-season schedule, broadcast deals have not yet been determined. Root Sports and/or local broadcasts are expected to pick up most if not all of the remaining contests. The Mountain West Digital Network, an online broadcasting network, can also pick up remaining games.

The Lobos on Friday also learned they will not play at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs this season and will not host Fresno State, a result of the league’s new 18-game unbalanced schedule that has the league’s 11 teams playing eight teams twice (home and on the road) and two teams only once a season.

“We’re not going to Air Force? Dang,” Neal said sarcastically. “They’ve got us a couple times so I don’t mind that.”

Air Force beat the Lobos 89-88 in a last-second heartbreaker in the 2012-13 regular-season finale in March.

Every league team gets two open spots in the schedule between Jan. 1 and March 8, with the Lobos actually starting the conference season with a bye on New Year’s Day. That means UNM will play Grand Canyon University on Dec. 23 to end its nonconference schedule and next play on Jan. 4 in its Mountain West opener against Colorado State in the Pit.

The Lobos host UNLV on Jan. 15 and play the Rebels in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. UNM won’t play rival San Diego State until Feb 22 in the Pit and will finish regular-season play March 8 in San Diego.

Neal said he isn’t particularly a fan of the new 18-game, unbalanced format, but realizes it is a necessity with having an uneven number of teams.

“You want to play everybody twice,” Neal said. “It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be new for everybody because of the 18 games and the schools that have been added, so it’s going to be a unique experience for all of us.”

UNM’s 2013-14 men’s basketball schedule

    • Nov. 2 – Eastern New Mexico (exhibition, 7 p.m.) – the Pit
    • Nov. 6 – Jamestown (exhibition, 7 p.m.) the Pit
    • Nov. 9 – Alabama A&M – the Pit (8 p.m.) – TV TBA
    • Nov. 17 – Charleston Southern – the Pit (TBA) – TV TBA
    • Nov. 21 – Alabama-Birmingham (Charleston Classic, Game 1, 1 p.m.) – Charleston, S.C. – ESPN networks
    • Nov. 22 – Nebraska/UMass (Charleston Classic, Game 2) – Charleston, S.C. – ESPN Networks
    • Nov. 24 – Clemson/Davidson/Georgia/Temple (Charleston Classic, Game 3) – Charleston, S.C. – ESPN Networks
    • Nov. 30 – San Diego – the Pit (1 p.m.) – TV TBA
    • Dec. 4 – at New Mexico State – Las Cruces (TBA) – TV TBA
    • Dec. 7 – Cincinnati – the Pit (7:05 p.m.) – CBS SN
    • Dec. 14 – vs. Kansas – Kansas City, Mo. (5 p.m.) – ESPN2
    • Dec. 17 – New Mexico State – the Pit (TBA) – ESPN3
    • Dec. 21 – vs. Marquette – Las Vegas, Nev. (7 p.m.) – ESPNU
    • Dec. 23 – Grand Canyon University – the Pit (TBA) – TV TBA
    • *Jan. 4 – Colorado State – the Pit (4:05 p.m.) – ESPNU
    • *Jan. 8 – at Wyoming – Laramie, Wyo. (9:05 p.m.) – ESPNU or ESPN3
    • *Jan. 11 – at San Jose State – San Jose, Calif. (TBA) – TV TBA
    • *Jan. 15 – UNLV – the Pit (7:05 p.m.) – CBS SN
    • *Jan. 18 – at Fresno State – Fresno, Calif. (TBA) – ESPN3
    • *Jan. 21 – Boise State – the Pit (7:15 p.m.) – CBS SN
    • *Jan. 25 – at Colorado State – Fort Collins, Colo. (9:05 p.m.) – ESPNU or ESPN3
    • *Jan. 28 – at Utah State – Logan, Utah (9:05 p.m.) – ESPNU
    • *Feb. 1 – San Jose State – the Pit (TBA) – TV TBA
    • *Feb. 5 – Wyoming – the Pit (9:05 p.m.) – ESPNU or ESPN 3
    • *Feb. 12 – at Boise State – Boise, Idaho (7:15 p.m.) – CBS SN
    • *Feb. 15 – Nevada – the Pit (TBA) – CSB SN
    • *Feb. 19 – at UNLV – Las Vegas, Nev. (9:05 p.m.) – ESPN2
    • *Feb. 22 – San Diego State – the Pit (8:05 p.m.) – ESPN2
    • *Feb. 25 – Utah State – the Pit (7:05 p.m.) – CBS SN
    • *March 2 – at Nevada – Reno, Nev. (TBA) – ESPN3
    • *March 5 – Air Force – the Pit (TBA) – ESPN3
    • *March 8 – at San Diego State – San Diego, Calif. (TBA) – CBS SN
    • March 12 – MWC opening round – Las Vegas, Nev.
    • March 13 – MWC quarterfinals – Las Vegas, Nev.
    • March 14 – MWC semifinals – Las Vegas, Nev.
    • March 15 – MWC championship – Las Vegas, Nev.
    • March 18-April 7 – NCAA Tournament
    * denotes MWC league game

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