The start of the regular season for NCAA men’s basketball is quickly approaching. And with less than three weeks to go until said start, many are trying to scramble to find non-conference games in a season that has as much uncertainty around it as the U.S. Presidential election.
One of those teams that is struggling to find anyone to play outside of conference is the New Mexico Lobos. And with good reason at the moment. The state’s public health order limits gatherings to five or less. And with COVID-19 cases still on the rise in Bernalillo County, where The Pit is located in Albuquerque, the prospects of the Lobos being able to play any games at home in November are slim.
More than likely if the New Mexico Lobos men’s basketball team wants to play a non-conference game, they will have to do it outside the state. If that were to occur, they would follow the pattern of New Mexico’s professional soccer team and the UNM football team in having to play and practice outside of New Mexico. The UNM football team had to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada in order to practice for upcoming games. And the chances that they will play a home game over their final six scheduled contests seems unlikely.
With the state order in place, the Lobos have yet to announce any non-conference contests. There still is an 18-game Mountain West Conference slate that the Lobos do still have in place. With the first home MWC game for New Mexico not scheduled until January 2nd, there is still a chance that the Lobos can play home games starting then. However, with like anything else in 2020, the early months of 2021 does not guarantee anything.
And if the state order is to begin being lifted before January, Lobo fans need to wrap their heads around the possibility of that January 2nd contest against Wyoming to be played with either limited or no fans at all. Come basketball season, The Pit just won’t be The Pit.