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UNM hoops: More schedule answers expected Tuesday

It wasn’t by design.

But it isn’t exactly all that uncommon in college basketball, either.

The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team still hasn’t unveiled its 2018-19 non-conference schedule, and it isn’t entirely clear if the full one will actually be released Tuesday night at a private schedule-release event put together last week for the program’s 6th Man Club fundraising group.

UNM isn’t the last team in the country to unveil its schedule, but it is last in the Mountain West to do so. Season tickets have been on sale since May, even though the number of home games has not been released.

Paul Weir, entering his second season as the Lobos coach, and associate head coach Chris Harriman have been trying for several weeks to finalize the final few pieces of what is expected to be between and 11- and 13-game non-conference schedule to go along with the 18-game Mountain West schedule that’s already been released. The Journal has confirmed nine non-conference games (six at home, one neutral court and two on the road) and dates for eight of them.

New Mexico State has released its schedule, including a Dec. 4 home game against UNM. But according to a copy of a signed contract between Colorado and UNM, on Dec. 4 is when the Pac-12’s Buffaloes are supposed to play in Dreamstyle Arena—the Pit. It is unclear when that game will be played.

It also remains unclear whether this season will include things like the October Lobo Howl event or two exhibition games, which were the norm almost every year until last season. Then, UNM chose instead to play two closed-door scrimmages (and also was granted a one-time waiver to play BYU in a game to benefit hurricane relief efforts, but that was scheduled after the program had chosen to eliminate exhibition games that were open to the public).

UNM also hasn’t announced if it has been able to find a last-minute multi-team exempt (MTE) event to play in — an event that would allow the schedule to grow to as many as 32 games instead of 29. That was said just two years ago to be a requirement in the Mountain West when a sub-committee trying to improve the leagues computer ratings issued a directive for all members to play in such non-conference events.

Asked via email on Monday if the MWC still required its members to play in MTEs, the league didn’t directly answer.

“Playing in an MTE each season is one of the recommendations for each team to improve Mountain West men’s basketball,” said senior associate commissioner Dan Butterly in an email reply.

2018-19 UNM Lobos men’s basketball schedule

(Partial schedule; home games in bold)

Nov. 13 — Iona at New Mexico
Nov. 17 — New Mexico State at New Mexico
Nov. 24 — UTEP at New Mexico
Dec. 1 — New Mexico at Bradley
Dec. 4 — New Mexico at New Mexico State
Dec. 7 — New Mexico vs. Saint Mary’s (Staples Center, Los Angeles)
Dec. 16 — Central Arkansas at New Mexico
Dec. 22 — Penn at New Mexico
TBD — Colorado at New Mexico

Mountain West conference
Jan. 2 — New Mexico at Air Force
Jan. 5 — Nevada at New Mexico
Jan. 9 — UNLV at New Mexico
Jan. 12 — New Mexico at Colorado State
Jan. 16 — New Mexico at San Diego State
Jan. 19 — Wyoming at New Mexico
Jan. 23 — New Mexico at UNLV
Jan. 26 — Utah State at New Mexico
Feb. 2 — New Mexico at Fresno State
Feb. 6 — San Diego State at New Mexico
Feb. 9 — New Mexico at Nevada
Feb. 13 — San Jose State at New Mexico
Feb. 16 — Fresno State at New Mexico
Feb. 20 — New Mexico at Utah State
Feb. 27 — New Mexico at San Jose State
March 2 — Colorado State at New Mexico
March 6 — Boise State at New Mexico
March 9 — New Mexico at Wyoming

Mountain West Tournament
March 13-16 (Las Vegas, Nev.)