Men's Basketball: MWC rescheduling leaves a lot of idle time for Lobos - Albuquerque Journal

Men’s Basketball: MWC rescheduling leaves a lot of idle time for Lobos

Want to shoot some hoops?

The Lobos have a gym and are willing to turn on the lights and play a game on Feb. 8 or 11 if you’ve got the time.

The Mountain West Conference on Monday announced the rescheduling of several COVID-related game postponements, including UNM now hosting preseason league favorite Colorado State on Feb. 17 in the Pit. That game was scheduled for Dec. 28 in the Pit when CSU was undefeated and nationally ranked, but a COVID-19 pause in their program led to it being postponed.

The Lobos also learned Monday they will lose out on one of their biggest expected home games of the season as the San Diego State Aztecs will not be making the trip to Albuquerque after having to postpone their Jan. 15 scheduled game in the Pit due to COVID-19 on the Aztecs roster.

The Mountain West instead moved up a mid-February Boise State game to fill that Jan. 15 slot in the Pit, but now the Lobos are sitting with only one game (Saturday at Air Force) on the schedule in the first 14 days of February.

So, as they now know they won’t play all their league games and hit the NCAA limit of games, the Lobos are now looking for a rare mid-February non-conference game.

“Who wants to play the Lobos Feb 8th or the 11th in the Pit?? Open to starting a series and returning in the future! #golobos,” Lobos coach Richard Pitino posted on his Twitter account on Monday (the original tweet said Feb. 9, but was later corrected to Feb. 8 as the UNM women are playing in the Pit on Feb. 9.

But getting a Division I opponent on short notice in February, when most are playing their own conference games, is a tall order.

The options for UNM are this: Pay about $5,000 for a non-Division I opponent just to get another home game and not be idle for so long in the middle of conference play, or find a Division I opponent willing to accept a road game in the Pit on one of two conditions: Accept less than the going rate this season for “buy” games of about $80,000 usually paid by the home team for a game or start a home-and-home series with UNM that the Lobos would agree to a road game at their arena in the future.

Ironically, the day the Lobos learned they’re losing the SDSU home game they were in San Diego State scheduled to play the Aztecs on the road Monday night.

This and the Mountain West already having not scheduled Nevada to visit the Pit this season — a guaranteed good draw at the ticket window since Nevada is coached by former Lobo coaches Steve Alford and Craig Neal — has left the Lobos in a tough spot in league play.

And any make-up game may not be a high-profile opponent.

“We realize this isn’t perfect,” said UNM Deputy Athletic Director Dave Williams. “We’re just trying to make the best of a difficult situation and we hope the fan base understands the reason for these changes.”

UNM also learned on Monday that, in an effort to make the puzzle of rearranging so many games around the league fit while still having at least two days between games, they have two upcoming road games that have bumped by one day.

UNM will now play at San Jose State on Feb. 20 instead of Feb. 19 and at Fresno State on Feb. 28 instead of March 1.

Home » Sports » Men’s Basketball: MWC rescheduling leaves a lot of idle time for Lobos


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