'Dogs to Visit SIU for MW/MVC Challenge
April 23, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Fresno State men's basketball team will head out on the road to play at Southern Illinois on Nov. 28, which marks the first time the Bulldogs will compete in the MW/MVC Challenge.
"We are excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge and the great exposure it brings to our program and conference," Fresno State head men's basketball coach Rodney Terry said.
Fresno State and Southern Illinois have squared off on the hardwood just once before when the Salukis won 93-70 on March 9, 1966.
The agreement between the MW and MVC is in the final year of a four-year term. In each of the first two years, the Challenge featured head-to-head competition between nine Mountain West and nine Missouri Valley teams, while last year's Challenge consisted of eight games. Nine matchups will make up the 2012 Challenge, with Mountain West teams hosting four of the contests. Seven of the nine games will take place the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4 while the remaining two contests are scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 19. Bradley will be the MVC team that does not participate in the 2012 Challenge Series.
The Mountain West won the 2010 Challenge, 8-1, and holds a 16-10 lead in the first three years of the series after the two conferences split last year's matchups, 4-4. Last season, the leagues combined for six NCAA tournament appearances, which included second-round wins by New Mexico and Creighton. Overall, the two conferences earned a collective 13 postseason berths and seven postseason victories in 2011-12.
The Mountain West has ranked among the Top 9 in the NCAA's final RPI report in 12 of the last 13 years, including two straight No. 5 rankings, while the Valley has been among the Top 9 in seven of the last eight seasons. Teams from the two leagues have squared off 67 times since the inception of the Mountain West in 1999, with MW squads holding a 38-29 edge in those contests.
The Mountain West and Missouri Valley combined to place nine teams in the Top 100 of the RPI last season, including six in the Top 50. Two teams (Creighton-21; New Mexico-23) finished in the 2011-12 final USA Today/ESPN Top-25 Coaches' poll, while three more (San Diego State, UNLV, Wichita State) joined the Bluejays and Lobos in the final Associated Press poll released prior to the NCAA tournament.
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2012 MOUNTAIN WEST-MISSOURI VALLEY CHALLENGE
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