The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team won’t be returning to its bubble in Lubbock, Texas, for a while — or even at all.
UNM announced Monday that it has added a nonconference game Wednesday night at Dixie State and moved its basketball series against San Jose State to Dixie State’s arena in St. George, Utah, for the two games scheduled Jan. 21 and 23. All three games will be streamed over the internet free of charge.
New Mexico will visit UNLV for games this Saturday and again Jan. 18, then return to St. George in preparation for their games against SJSU. UNM officials said last week they were trying to work out a deal to remain in Las Vegas, Nev., for an extended period, possibly spending the rest of the regular season there.
“I want to say thank you so much to Dixie State for providing this opportunity to better the experience of our basketball team during these unusual times,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said in a statement. “We have had some terrific partnerships with institutions during these past few months and look forward to creating another meaningful connection going forward. We are grateful to all of the people and places who have aided us in this journey and look forward to continuing our fight forward.”
Dixie State is in its first year as an NCAA Division I school, joining the Western Athletic Conference in most sports. Last season, it was part of the Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which includes New Mexico Highlands.
The Trailblazers (4-2) haven’t played since Dec. 29, a 112-67 loss to top-ranked Gonzaga. They are scheduled to wrap up the regular season at home March 5-6 against New Mexico State.
Dixie State plays at Burns Arena, a 4,779-seat venue that’s more than double the size of Lubbock Christian’s Rip Griffin Center. UNM paid the small Division II school $1,500 per game in rent — a deal brokered, in part, through a common history UNM assistant athletic director Ed Manzanares has with the school. He coached against the Chaps when he was an assistant at rival Oklahoma Baptist 15 years ago.
Details of UNM’s agreement with Dixie State were not immediately available.
The Lobos played four games in Lubbock, losing twice to Nevada and two more to Utah State by a combined 92 points. At 3-6 and winless through half a dozen games in Mountain West play, the Lobos’ average margin of defeat in league play is 25.5 points.