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Men's Basketball
UNI, UNLV to Meet in Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge
Courtesy: UNI Athletics Communications  
Release: Tuesday 04/23/2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference and Missouri Valley Conference have announced next season's pairings for the MW/MVC Challenge Series in men's basketball. The University of Northern Iowa will play at UNLV on Dec. 19.

UNI and UNLV's only previous meeting came on March 18, 2010, in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. UNI scored a 69-66 win over the Runnin' Rebels and were keyed to the victory by a three-pointer by Ali Farokhmanesh with 4.9 seconds remaining.

UNI is the only Valley school to go 3-0 in the previous three years of the Challenge. UNI scored a 72-54 win over Wyoming in 2009. UNI posted a 64-60 win at TCU in 2010. UNI then secured an 83-77 win over Colorado State in 2011.

The agreement between the Mountain West and Missouri Valley conferences is in the final year of a four-year term. In each of the first two years, the Challenge featured head-to-head competition between nine Mountain West and nine Missouri Valley teams, while last year's Challenge consisted of eight games. Nine matchups will make up the 2012 Challenge, with Missouri Valley teams hosting five of the contests. Seven of the nine games will take place the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4 while the remaining two are scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 19. Bradley will be the MVC team that does not participate in the 2012 Challenge Series.

The conferences split last year's matchups, 4-4, but the Mountain West won the 2010 Challenge, 8-1, and holds a 16-10 lead in the first three years of the series. The MVC won the 2009 Challenge, 5-4.

Last season, the leagues combined for six NCAA tournament appearances, which included second-
round wins by New Mexico and Creighton. Overall, the two conferences earned a collective 13 postseason berths and seven postseason victories in 2011-12.

The Mountain West has ranked among the Top 9 in the NCAA's final RPI report in 12 of the last 13 years, including two straight No. 5 rankings, while the Missouri Valley has been among the Top 9 in seven of the last eight years, ranking as high as No. 6 on two occasions. Teams from the two leagues have squared off 67 times since the inception of the Mountain West in 1999, with MW squads holding a 38-29 edge in those contests.

The Mountain West and Missouri Valley combined to place nine teams in the Top 100 of the RPI last season, including six in the Top 50. Two teams (Creighton-21; New Mexico-23) finished in the 2011-12 final USA Today/ESPN Top-25 Coaches' poll, while three more (San Diego State, UNLV, Wichita State) joined the Bluejays and Lobos in the final Associated Press poll released prior to the NCAA tournament.

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 MW continues to cultivate opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level and foster academic achievement and sportsmanship. Mountain West membership in 2012-13 will include 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, UNLV and University of Wyoming.

About the Missouri Valley Conference
The Missouri Valley Conference continues to lead by example as one of college athletics' most progressive conferences. The Valley emphasizes the importance of the student-athlete and is aggressive in its approach to provide opportunities for its member institutions. Founded in 1907, the Missouri Valley Conference (www.mvc-sports.com) is the nation's second-oldest NCAA Division I conference and continues to be a leader in college athletics. League members include Bradley University, Creighton University, Drake University, the University of Evansville, Illinois State University, Indiana State University, Missouri State University, the University of Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois University, and Wichita State University.
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