Fresno State Basketball

Mountain West, Missouri Valley conferences renew annual hoops series

Fresno State will host Evansville on Dec. 20 in the renewal of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge series of men's basketball games, the leagues announced Thursday.

There will be 10 annual matchups between the two conferences, which previously staged the series from 2009-10 through 2012-13, with the Mountain West compiling a 22-13 record

"Evansville is a well-coached team and this will be a very competitive game for us in nonconference play," Fresno State coach Rodney Terry said in a news release. "We are working hard this offseason to give us a great opportunity to compete a high level throughout the upcoming season and can't wait to get back on the basketball floor in front of the Red Wave this fall!"

Fresno State and Evansville will meet for a second straight season, with the Purple Aces defeating the Bulldogs 58-52 on Nov. 24, 2014, at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. Evansville leads the all-time series with Fresno State 3-1.

Here are the other matchups for 2015-16 season:

  • Friday, Nov. 13 Illinois State at San Diego State
  • Friday, Nov. 13 Air Force at Southern Illinois (Carbondale, Ill.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 14 Colorado State at Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa)
  • Monday, Nov. 16 Wyoming at Indiana State (Terre Haute, Ind.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 18 Loyola at New Mexico
  • Tuesday, Dec. 1 Utah State at Missouri State (Springfield, Mo.)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 2 UNLV at Wichita State
  • Saturday, Dec. 12 Drake at Nevada
  • Sunday, Dec. 20 Bradley at Boise State

Matchups are based upon factors including the previous year's achievements, records and RPI rankings. Also factored in, according to the conferences, are projected rankings/strength of teams for the upcoming season, based on composite sources.

Each season will be considered separately, so return dates from previous years' matchups will not be guaranteed.

The Mountain West has ranked among the Top 10 in the NCAA's final RPI report in nine of the past 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 appearances and one Final Four (Wichita State) over the past decade.

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.

Fresno State erased a 12-point second-half deficit but squandered the lead in the final minute in losing at Southern Illinois 57-54 in a 2012-13 MW/MVC series matchup.

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