POSTED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 2:32pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 6:33pm
With three seniors and three juniors returning to the hardwood in 2011-12, the New Mexico State men's basketball team is slated to host 18 home games in the Pan American Center. The schedule features three 2011 NCAA Tournament teams and a trip to the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.
Fifth-year head coach Marvin Menzies said he was pleased with the schedule that includes six exciting non-conferences games including Arizona, New Mexico, UTEP and Southern Mississippi.
"The non-conference schedule presents a lot of marquee challenges that will aid us in our overall goal to establish a high RPI at the end of the season," Menzies said. "It is always speculative but assuming our competitors do well, like we are projecting, hopefully, it will shake out that way and work in our favor.
"With the rivalry games plus Arizona, out of the Pac-12 and Southern Miss, out of the Conference USA, hopefully, those six games in the non-conference will give us that added boost that we would need to solidify a strong RPI."
The Aggies open the season with an exhibition contest with Eastern New Mexico (Nov. 2), before they begin the 2011-12 campaign on the road for the third consecutive season with a rematch of the 2011 ESPNU BracketBuster game at Northern Colorado (Nov. 12).
NM State then meets New Mexico for the first time of the season in Albuquerque (Nov. 16), before returning to Las Cruces to host UTEP (Nov. 19) in the home opener.
After taking the 1992 title, the Aggies are traveling to the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 24-26) and have a first round match-up with Central Michigan and will then play Southern Miss or UC Irvine in the second round. The Aggies could also meet Murray State, Alaska Anchorage, Dartmouth or San Francisco.
The Aggies welcome Arizona (Nov. 29) to the Pan Am for the first time since 1971, and the Wildcats made a Elite Eight appearance and won a Pac-10 Championship in 2011.
NM State begins December with a pair of road games at Southern Miss (Dec. 4) and at UTEP (Dec. 14) prior to a five-game home stand. The Aggies host Western New Mexico (Dec. 14), Southern (Dec. 19), McNeese State (Dec. 21), New Mexico (Dec. 28) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 31).
"We factored in convenience of travel, budget and opponent's availabilities in order to round out the non-conference schedule," Menzies said. "Scheduling can be a daunting task, but I feel confident in this being one of our better schedules since I have been here."
The Aggies travel to Cal State Bakersfield (Jan. 2) for a final tune-up before WAC play starts at Louisiana Tech (Jan. 7). NM State meets Utah State (Jan. 24) and Idaho (Jan. 14) in Las Cruces before heading west to San Jose State (Jan. 19) and Hawai'i (Jan. 21).
A four-game home stretch with Nevada (Jan. 26), Fresno State (Jan. 28), Cal State Bakersfield (Feb. 1) and Louisiana Tech (Feb. 4) leads the Aggies to the final month of the season. NM State returns to the road at Idaho (Feb. 9) and at Utah State (Feb. 11).
With a break in conference action, the Aggies face North New Mexico College (Feb. 14) and play in the ESPNU BracketBuster (Feb. 18).
The Aggies host Hawai'i (Feb. 23) and San Jose State (Feb. 25) in the final two home games, before they end the regular season at Fresno State (March 1) and at Nevada (March 3).
For the second consecutive year, the WAC Tournament (March 7-10) heads to Las Vegas, Nev., and the Orleans Arena.
"I liked the format we had last year, and I'm hopeful that we get even more fans out from all the schools in order to grow the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas," Menzies said. All dates are subject to change, and game times will be announced at a later date.
2011-12 NM State Men's Basketball Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Nov. 2 Eastern New Mexico (Exh.) Las Cruces
Nov. 12 at Northern Colorado Greeley, Colo.
Nov. 16 at New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M.
Nov. 19 UTEP Las Cruces
Nov. 24 Central Michigan% Anchorage, Alaska
Nov. 25 UC Irvine/Southern Miss% Anchorage, Alaska
Nov. 26 TBD% Anchorage, Alaska
Nov. 29 Arizona Las Cruces
Dec. 4 at Southern Miss Hattiesburg, Miss.
Dec. 11 at UTEP El Paso, Texas
Dec. 14 Western New Mexico Las Cruces
Dec. 19 Southern Las Cruces
Dec. 21 McNeese State Las Cruces
Dec. 28 New Mexico Las Cruces
Dec. 31 Arkansas-Pine Bluff Las Cruces
Jan. 2 Cal State Bakersfield Bakersfield, Calif.
Jan. 7 Louisiana Tech* Ruston, La.
Jan. 12 Utah State* Las Cruces
Jan. 14 Idaho* Las Cruces
Jan. 19 at San Jose State* San Jose, Calif.
Jan. 21 at Hawai'i* Honolulu, Hawai'i
Jan. 26 Nevada* Las Cruces
Jan. 28 Fresno State* Las Cruces
Feb. 1 Cal State Bakersfield Las Cruces
Feb. 4 Louisiana Tech* Las Cruces
Feb. 9 at Idaho* Moscow, Idaho
Feb. 11 at Utah State Logan, Utah
Feb. 14 North New Mexico Las Cruces
Feb. 18 ESPNU BracketBuster Las Cruces
Feb. 23 Hawai'i* Las Cruces
Feb. 25 San Jose State* Las Cruces
March 1 Fresno State* Fresno, Calif.
March 3 Nevada* Reno, Nev.
March 7-10 WAC Tournament Las Vegas, Nev.
* = WAC games
% = Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout (Anchorage, Alaska)