ISU to Host Wyoming in Challenge Series
April 23, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The pairings for next season's Mountain West Conference/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge Series were announced and the Illinois State men's basketball team will host Wyoming on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena on December 4.
The Challenge matchup will mark the second meeting between the two schools and Wyoming's first trip to Illinois State's campus. The Redbirds are 0-1 all-time against the Cowboys, after falling 71-48 in the championship game of the Cowboy Shootout in Casper, Wyo., on Dec. 28, 1985.
The Redbirds finished last season with a 21-14 record, which included a run to the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship Game and a berth in the 2012 National Invitation Tournament, which included an overtime loss to the eventual champion of the event, Stanford. Illinois State did not have a senior on last season's team.
Wyoming posted a 21-12 record last season, including a 6-8 mark in league play. The Cowboys participated in the 2012 CBI event and suffered a 20-point loss to Washington State in the quarterfinals.
The agreement between the two leagues is in its final year of a four-year term. In each of the first two years, the Chal¬lenge 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 Missouri Valley teams hosting five of the contests. Seven of the nine games will take place the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4, while the remaining two are scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 19.
The conferences split last year's match¬ups, 4-4, but the Mountain West won the 2010 Challenge, 8-1, and holds a 16-10 lead in the first three years of the series. The MVC won the 2009 Challenge, 5-4.
Last season, the leagues combined for six NCAA tournament appearances, which included sec¬ond-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 Missouri Valley has been among the Top-9 in seven of the last eight years, ranking as high as No. 6 on two occasions. 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.
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