COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West and Missouri Valley conferences announced today an agreement to renew the annual Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge for men's basketball. The revived Challenge Series will feature head-to-head competition between 10 Mountain West and 10 Missouri Valley teams annually, with each conference hosting five games apiece each season. Wyoming will play at Indiana State on Nov. 16.
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.
Television rights for each Challenge Series contest will be controlled by the home team's conference television agreement, which will dictate the distribution of the game and all related matters, including tip times.
"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."
"The reintroduction of this Challenge Series is a positive step for both leagues," says MVC Commissioner Doug 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."
The Mountain West has ranked among the Top 10 in the NCAA's final RPI report in nine of the last 10 years, while the Valley has been among the Top 10 eight times during that same span. The leagues have combined for nine Sweet 16 and one Final Four (Wichita State) appearances over the last decade.
The previous Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge Series ran from the 2009-10 through 2012-13 seasons, with the MW compiling a 22-13 record. At least three Mountain West teams advanced to the NCAA tournament each year during that four-year span, including a league-record five teams in 2013 and four in both 2010 and 2012. The MW's 16 overall NCAA tournament participants during that period mark the best four-year tally in the 16-year history of the league.
In the 2015 Challenge Series, games will be played across November and December as noted below. In future seasons, Challenge Series contests will primarily be played during a nine-day window beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Below are the matchups for the 2015 MW-MVC Challenge 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.
About the Mountain West Conference
From its inception in 1999, the Mountain West has been committed to excellence in intercollegiate athletics, while promoting the academic missions of its member institutions. Progressive in its approach, the Mountain West continues to cultivate opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while fostering academic achievement and sportsmanship. Now in its 16th year, the MW has been assertive in its involvement with the NCAA governance structure and has taken a leadership role in the overall administration of intercollegiate athletics. The Mountain West membership is comprised of 11 all-sport members: the United States Air Force Academy, Boise State University, Colorado State University, Fresno State, University of Nevada, University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, San José State University, UNLV, Utah State University and University of Wyoming. In addition, the University of Hawai`i and Colorado College participate in the Mountain West as single-sport members in football and women's soccer, respectively.
About the Missouri Valley Conference
The Missouri Valley Conference, the nation's second-oldest NCAA Division I conference, continues to be a leader in college athletics and is one of the nation's most progressive conferences, celebrating its 108th season in 2014-15. League members have worked together to focus on common goals and objectives, placing a high value on league harmony, while continuing to invest in athletic programs to compete at the highest level. League members for basketball include Bradley, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Loyola Chicago, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, and Wichita State.