The BYU men’s basketball team will face off with New Mexico in a previously unannounced exhibition game on October 27, according to a release. The game will be played at the Lobos’ Dreamstyle Arena and will tip at 7:30 p.m. MDT. All proceeds from the game will be donated to disaster relief efforts to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Programs are normally limited to just two exhibition games per season, which must be played against lower-tier schools from Division II, Division III or NAIA. For example, BYU had already scheduled its two preseason exhibitions against Westminster and Colorado College — a pair of Division III foes.
However, in the aftermath of several hurricanes and natural disasters befalling the country in recent months, the NCAA announced that Division I programs would be allowed an additional exhibition game this season, so long as the proceeds were donated to disaster relief efforts. The BYU-New Mexico matchup has been cleared through this “Legislative Relief Process.”
"Finding a way to make this game happen is a blessing to so many people," New Mexico head coach Paul Weir said. "I am incredibly thankful to the NCAA, Coach Rose and those who helped at BYU, as well as everyone at UNM who has worked to make this happen. I hope this event is as special as we all intend it to be."
The Lobos are looking to rebound from several middling seasons under former coach Craig Neal, which have seen them fall from their normal perch among the Mountain West Conference’s power programs. With Weir now at the helm, New Mexico will look to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014.
The game should provide a good early test for both squads, as BYU also looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2016-17 season. It should provide both schools’ fans a glimpse of how their respective teams matchup with similar Division I competition at a very early point in the season, while also offering the side benefit of renewing the two programs’ tense rivalry from their old MWC days — and of course, raising much-needed funds for a very good cause. No matter the outcome, it seems like everybody is poised to win in this one.
For those in the Albuquerque area interested in attending, tickets for the event will go on sale on Monday, Oct. 23 at 8:30 a.m. MDT on New Mexico’s official ticketing site for $10 apiece. No broadcast plans have been announced at this time.