Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, April 23, 2012 | 2 p.m.
2012 MWC-MVC Challenge
Nov. 17San Diego State at Missouri State
Nov. 28Boise State at Creighton
Fresno State at Southern Illinois
Dec. 1Wichita State at Evansville
Evansville at Colorado State
Drake at Nevada
New Mexico at Indiana State
Dec. 4Wyoming at Illinois State
Dec. 19UNI at UNLV
UNLV will host the big-ticket game in the final year of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge, bringing Northern Iowa to the Thomas & Mack Center on Dec. 19.
The official pairings were announced Monday afternoon as the conferences enter the final season of a four-year deal. The Rebels are 2-1 in the challenge, defeating Southern Illinois at home in 2009-10, winning a blowout at Illinois State in 2010-11 and falling last year at Wichita State.
UNLV is 0-1 all-time against the Panthers, losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2010 on Ali Farokhmanesh’s late 3-pointer. With both teams expected to contend for conference titles in 2012-13, this is the easily the best matchup on the slate.
The format for this year’s challenge has changed a little bit from the last two years, when all of the games were played within a week of each other. This year it’s spread out over a month, with San Diego State at Missouri State kicking things off Nov. 17. The Aztecs-Bears game is probably the second best on the schedule.
It’s a good RPI game for the Rebels, who also have games at North Carolina and a home Thanksgiving tournament featuring Oregon, Cincinnati and Iowa State on the non-conference schedule. Last year, UNI finished No. 71 in the RPI according to teamrankings.com. And at the same time UNLV is hosting its tournament this fall, the Panthers will be in the Battle 4 Atlantis field that also includes Duke, Louisville and Missouri.