The Arizona Wildcats announced on Monday that the team will play a home-and-home series with the New Mexico Lobos in 2016 and 2017.
UNM will come to McKale Center on December 17th, 2016. Arizona then will repay the visit by travelling to Albuquerque and WisePies Arena on December 16th, 2017. Both dates are Saturdays, allowing for the possibility of a major national broadcast for both occurrences.
The last time the two teams played was in 1999. Arizona holds an 83-42 advantage all-time, as the schools were both in the Border Conference and the WAC together for extended periods of time.
That 1999 game was a doozy. Arizona was ranked No. 3 at the time, and welcomed the Lobos to McKale while looking to an extend a 37-game home winning streak.
UNM's Roland Hannah put in the game-winner with 1.4 seconds left to give the Lobos a 70-68 win.
"I guess I was in the right position at the right time," Hannah said after that game. "It was right there in front of me and I just had to put it right back in. I thought the referee would call a foul because I thought I pushed (Michael) Wright in the back, but I guess they just didn't call it."
"This is the first time that I have ever lost at home," said Richard Jefferson. "I never lost in high school, junior high or last year, so this is a little different for me."
Jefferson led the way for Arizona, pouring in 17 points. Loren Woods had 16, Gilbert Arenas had 14, and Jason Gardner had 10.
New Mexico's Lamont Long and Kevin Henry each scored 18 to lead both teams in points.
The announcement of this home-and-home is a little surprising, considering New Mexico may have overstepped when the possibility of a basketball game in Arizona Stadium was floated out there. It seemed at the time Byrne would not schedule a basketball series with UNM after that episode, but it seems the tides have turned.
It's important for Arizona to play these games against the likes of New Mexico, San Diego State, and Gonzaga. These are all teams that are good annually in the West, and they should be playing each other as often as possible.