Mens Basketball Faces No. 19 New Mexico at The Pit Wednesday
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The
Northern Arizona men’s basketball team started the second leg
of its extended road stretch Tuesday morning with a trip on the
Amtrak train from Flagstaff to Albuquerque. The Lumberjacks will
roll into town to face an undefeated New Mexico team that is 10-0
on the season Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at The Pit.
“There is a novelty to it,” said Head Coach Mike Adras of traveling by train. “There is excitement about doing something different.”
The train experience will be a first for all but three of the Lumberjack players. NAU will travel by plane the rest of the trip, part of an eight-game stretch in which the Lumberjacks will total more than 7,000 miles to play games in five different states.
The Lobos are one of 11 undefeated teams in NCAA Division I this season. They broke into the national rankings at No. 19 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls on Monday. It is the first ranking for New Mexico in 11 seasons.
“New Mexico has great basketball fans,” said Head Coach Mike Adras. “They are very talented and have not lost. I think there were low expectations when the season began. Now they are a Top 25 team and we have our hands full.”
NAU has played a ranked opponent 21 times in school history, facing top-ranked Arizona in 2002-03 and second-ranked Arizona teams twice in 1990-91 and 1991-92. NAU is 0-21 all-time against ranked teams.
NAU and New Mexico have met 82 times with the series tied at 41-41 overall. The two schools last met in 2004 with New Mexico posting an 81-70 victory. The last NAU victory in the series came in 1984-85 when the Lumberjacks posted a 64-56 victory. NAU is 18-24 in Albuquerque and 1-4 in The Pit. This will be just the sixth meeting with UNM since 1960.
NAU will play three consecutive Mountain West opponents on this trip with games at New Mexico, Air Force and Colorado State. The Lumberjacks already faced San Diego State on Nov. 28.
The New Mexico and Colorado State basketball games are both money games for NAU. The Lumberjacks will receive $75,000 for the game against the Lobos and $65,000 at Colorado State. The Air Force game is a home-and-home series that will returned to Flagstaff in 2010-11.