The University of New Mexico men’s basketball program will finally open its doors to the local media Friday, giving the press — and the public, for that matter — the first glimpse of new coach Richard Pitino’s revamped roster.
Only five players from last year’s five-win club return, making the 2021-22 season a complete mystery in terms of expectations and hype. The last time the media was allowed into a UNM practice was June 12, a time when three of the current scholarship players hadn’t yet reported to school.
For what it’s worth, the Lobos will get plenty of exposure on the small screen this season. The Mountain West Conference announced its national TV schedule Thursday, and UNM will have 13 of its 18 conference games broadcast on either Fox’s FS1 or CBS Sports Network.
Of those, eight are road games. The only one not picked up is a Feb. 19 trip to San Jose State. Each of UNM’s first seven MWC games will be on TV, but only five of the Lobos’ nine home games in The Pit will be broadcast to a national audience.
The five MWC dates not slated for TV will either be broadcast by an unnamed network or streamed online through the MWC’s platform. The conference’s TV rights deal allows internet streaming by lower-level platforms for any game not claimed by either FOX or CBS.
Only four of the Lobos’ 13 nonconference games are slated for TV, although several are expected to be picked up by local or regional networks in the coming weeks.
Their road opener Nov. 13 at Colorado will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network, while their two games at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational over the Thanksgiving break will be on FS1 or FS2. ESPN-Plus will air UNM’s trip to New Mexico State on Nov. 30.
The Lobos officially opened preseason camp Monday, and Pitino is reportedly still considering a fan-friendly event in the mold of the old Lobo Howl affairs held in the past, although a final date is yet to be determined.