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New Mexico Faces Tough Task on the Road in 1987-88 Season

October 11, 1987|Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico's hopes for an NCAA basketball bid this coming season will have to follow a road through Washington, Oklahoma and Texas.

New Mexico's schedule for the 1987-88 season will include those non-conference opponents, all of whom the Lobos will face on the road, as well as a home game against Arizona.

This season's schedule was upgraded after New Mexico went 25-9 last season but failed to get an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA selection committee pointed to what it considered a weak schedule as the primary reason the Lobos were left out of the NCAA field last March.

New Mexico Athletic Director Dr. John Koenig, who assumed that position in June, said he supports a tougher schedule.

"You want to be competitive and play people who are of top-notch caliber," said Koenig. "You can't be playing people who are I-AA or Division II and expect to catch the eye of the NCAA basketball committee. That was evident last year."

Head basketball Coach Gary Colson said Koenig's philosophy is different from that of former Athletic Director John Bridgers, the man Koenig succeeded.

"John Bridgers needed the money," said Colson. "He told me to play as many home games as we could."

Colson said the Lobos realize about $85,000 from each home game, but Koenig noted a bid to the NCAA Tournament is worth a minimum of $200,000.

"There's no question that money is important. If we just get into the NCAA, we can make up for two home games right there," said Koenig.

Koenig also said he favored having New Mexico schedule opponents from some of the nation's top basketball conferences, such as the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, Southeast Conference and Big Ten.

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