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'Thunder Dan' coming to the Pit and UNM/NMSU rivalry games set

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “Thunder Dan” is coming to the Pit, and Lobo hoops fans can start making their Rio Grande Rivalry plans.

While the University of New Mexico still has a couple of games in the 2013-14 schedule yet to finalize, it has come up with tentative dates for its in-state rivalry with New Mexico State and has agreed to host Grand Canyon University in late December.

Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is coached by Dan Majerle, a former NBA star with the Phoenix Suns whom many fans knew as “Thunder Dan.” The Antelopes are a new member of the Western Athletic Conference for the 2013-14 season and are beginning a four-year transitional period to full Division I membership.

Despite the Antelopes transitional status, the game will count as a Division I opponent for UNM.

Meanwhile, the Lobos will play New Mexico State on Dec. 4 in Las Cruces and Dec. 17 in the Pit.

The Dec. 17 game is sandwiched between a Dec. 14 road game in Kansas City, Mo., against the Kansas Jayhawks (and the nation’s top prep recruit, Andrew Wiggins) and a Dec. 21 game in Las Vegas, Nev., against Marquette.

There are still two to three home games the Lobos are trying to get on their 30- or 31-game schedule, including a possible return to ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon event in November. Of the games the Journal believes to be finalized, here is UNM’s nonconference schedule, thus far, for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season:

Tentative non-conference schedule

    • Nov. 21-24 – Three games in the Charleston (S.C.) Classic tournament
    • Nov. 30 – The Pit – San Diego
    • Dec. 4 – Las Cruces – at New Mexico State
    • Dec. 7 – The Pit – Cincinnati
    • Dec. 14 – in Kansas City – vs. Kansas
    • Dec. 17 – The Pit – vs. New Mexico State
    • Dec. 21 – Las Vegas, Nev. – Marquette
    • Dec. 23 – The Pit – Grand Canyon University
    *Note: The Lobos will play either 12 or 13 non-conference basketball games

Mountain West (18 games)

    • Nine home games (teams, dates TBD)
    • Nine road games (teams, dates TBD)