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Lobo hoops notes: MWC play will start early, Greenwood tries TV

Mountain West men’s and women’s basketball teams will square off a little earlier in the 2019-20 season.

Due to the moving of the 2020 MWC tournament from the second weekend in March to the first, a one-time shift, the league needed an extra week to fit in its 18-game, 10-week schedule.

Mountain West Senior Associate Commissioner Dan Butterly confirmed the move, which was first reported over the weekend by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

The conference season usually starts around New Year’s. Just tacking on the extra week of games at the front end of that 10-week schedule would have conflicted with Christmas-week tournaments some teams might already be contractually obligated to play in.

So, following the model the Big Ten used this past season when it moved its conference tournament date up a week on the calendar, the Mountain West decided the first week in December 2019, when no nonconference tournaments are scheduled, will now be the first week of league games.

League play will resume around New Year’s and play out over the next nine weeks up until the March 1-7 conference tournament, which will still be played in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., but will now conclude a week prior to the NCAA Selection Show and almost two weeks prior to the NCAA Tournament.

The MWC announced in January it is moving the tournament in 2020 so as not to have fans compete with the inflated travel and lodging costs experienced two years ago, when the tournament was scheduled the same weekend as the CONEXPO-CON/AGG International Construction Trade Show. It already competed that week for hotel space and attention with the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament (the women’s tournament will join the men in Las Vegas starting this year), the WAC and West Coast Conference tournaments, a NASCAR event and other events.

Butterly said speaking with fans who were unhappy about the cost of that year’s tournament trip was the driving factor for the one-time change.

SEASON TICKETS: As of close of business Tuesday, UNM had sold 8,120 men’s basketball season tickets, more than a month prior to the opening regular-season home game Nov. 13 against Iona. That is up from last season’s total of 8,057.

Of the tickets sold, 6,934 were renewed season tickets (other renewals can still happen until the season begins, but the same seats as last year may no longer be available), and 1,186 are new season-ticket holders.

GREENWOOD UPDATE: Former Lobo four-year starter, and unofficial program record holder for most career media interviews, Hugh Greenwood will be on the other side of the mic this season.

Now a rising “footy” star with the Adelaide Crows in the AFL, the professional Australian rules football league in his home country, Greenwood will be on the broadcast crew for select NBL games, that nation’s highest level of pro basketball, this season.

“Incredibly excited to be involved in basketball once again in some capacity. Especially with the team that’s been put together! Guess we’ll soon find out if I still know what I’m talking about,” Greenwood posted on his Twitter account after the news broke.

https://twitter.com/HGreenwood3/status/1049840746616905729

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