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Mountain West, Missouri Valley renew basketball challenge

The Mountain West and Missouri Valley Conference are renewing their basketball challenge series. The two leagues previously had an annual series between 2009-13.

From 2009-13 the Mountain West and Missouri Valley Conference held an annual basketball challenge, and after a short layoff the two leagues are getting back together for a conference crossover challenge.This is said to be an annual event but there are no terms to the length of this series.

There are 10 teams taking part and that means the Mountain West will not be represented in its entirety, and San Jose State drew the sort straw.

Let me leave it to the press release to explain how the matchups will be determined:

Annual matchups for teams in the Challenge Series will be based upon factors including the previous year's achievements, records and RPI rankings, as well as projected rankings/strength of teams in the upcoming season, based on composite sources. Each season will be considered separately in terms of matchups, therefore, games from the previous year's Challenge Series may not be returned.

One would think that maybe San Diego State, Boise State or even the conference tournament champion Wyoming will get to take on Wichita State. No, UNLV gets the honor to play the best team in the Valley, and based on the explanation the Rebels are pegged to be at the top of the Mountain West next year.

San Diego State should have made the most sense due to their consistency over the past decade, but they get to take on third-place finishers Illinois State at home.

Some would prefer a challenge with the Pac-12 or the American, but bringing back a series Missouri Valley Conference is a move in the right direction and not allow Mountain West teams to play non-Division I opponents.

This challenge is to promote each league and help boost the RPI for each conference, and hopefully some good games as well.

"Bringing back the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge is mutually beneficial for both leagues," said MW Commissioner Craig Thompson. "Improving overall non-conference schedules and providing quality opponents is important to the Mountain West. Aligning with another consistent Top-10 RPI league has proven to be successful as demonstrated during the last Challenge Series with the Missouri Valley from 2009-2013."

Valley commissioner Doug Elpin is in favor of this challenge to have better games for his league.

"The reintroduction of this Challenge Series is a positive step for both leagues," says Elgin. "Tough non-conference scheduling has always been paramount in improving our league's stature on the national scene. The series helps institutions in both leagues achieve that goal. It's great for the fans of the Missouri Valley and the Mountain West as new rivalries are developed with nationally-recognized programs that have a strong commitment to men's basketball."

Television and game times will be determined by the host conference. The Mountain West home games could be on the league-owned digital tier, CBS Sports Network or one of the many ESPN channels. Missouri Valley has a deal with ESPN and their own digital network.

.Here is the schedule for the challenge.

MOUNTAIN WEST/MISSOURI VALLEY CHALLENGE 2015 SERIES
Date Matchup Location
Friday, November 13 Illinois State at San Diego State San Diego, Calif.
Friday, November 13 Air Force at Southern Illinois Carbondale, Ill.
Saturday, November 14 Colorado State at UNI Cedar Falls, Iowa
Monday, November 16 Wyoming at Indiana State Terre Haute, Ind.
Wednesday, November 18 Loyola at New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M.
Tuesday, December 1 Utah State at Missouri State Springfield, Mo.
Wednesday, December 2 UNLV at Wichita State Wichita, Kan.
Saturday, December 12 Drake at Nevada Reno, Nev.
Sunday, December 20 Bradley at Boise State Boise, Idaho
Sunday, December 20 Evansville at Fresno State Fresno, Calif.