(Courtesy: New Mexico State Athletics)
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - In 173 days the starting lineup for the NM State Aggies men's basketball program will be introduced in front of a home crowd at the Pan American Center for its first official league bout as a member of Conference USA.
On Monday morning, Commissioner Judy McLeod and the CUSA league office released the Aggies' slate of 16 CUSA matchups for their inaugural season in the reshaped conference.
Although NM State will take the court donning a new conference patch on its jersey for its CUSA opener on Saturday, Jan. 6, its first league opponent will be one Aggie fans are familiar with as UTEP makes the trip to Las Cruces for the 225th installment of the Battle of I-10. Despite the two campuses being located just 40 miles apart, this will serve as the first time that the Aggies and Miners meet as league foes.
NM State will later return the favor when they visit the Don Haskins Center on Saturday, Feb. 10.
The team from El Paso, Texas, will also represent the first CUSA program that the Aggies complete their set of home-and-home matchups against.
Following the season's first meeting with the Miners, Head Coach Jason Hooten will take the Aggies on their first conference road trip of the season when they venture to Miami to do battle with Florida International on Thursday, Jan. 11.
NM State's second matchup with the Panthers is scheduled for Saturday, March 9, and will mark the Aggies' final regular season tilt of the season.
On a week's rest, the Aggies will host Western Kentucky on Thursday, Jan. 18, before welcoming Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Jan. 20.
The Aggies and Hilltoppers will also meet in Bowling Green, Ky., on Saturday, Feb. 17, while they will duel with the Blue Raiders for a second time on Thursday, Feb. 15.
The next tilt could be circled on calendars by many in Huntsville, Texas, as Coach Hooten will find himself inside Johnson Coliseum donning crimson instead of orange when NM State heads east to take on former WAC member Sam Houston on Thursday, Jan. 25.
Additionally, the Bearkats will visit the Land of Enchantment on Thursday, Feb. 22.
After their first run-in with SHSU, the Aggies will then skip over to Ruston, La., to rekindle an old conference rivalry with Louisiana Tech – an institution they shared conference affiliation with for eight years while they were both members of the WAC from 2005-13. NM State and La Tech will initially meet on Saturday, Jan. 27, before rounding out the season series on Saturday, Feb. 24 in Las Cruces.
This season, NM State faithful will also get their first look at two programs the Aggies have never shared the court with as Liberty is set to step foot on Lou Henson Court on Thursday, Feb. 1, while Jacksonville State comes to town just two days later.
The Aggies later visit the Flames on Thursday, Feb. 29, and the Gamecocks on Saturday, March 2.
Fans interested in purchasing season tickets for the 2023-24 season, including the eight CUSA games, may callf the ticket office at 575-646-1420 or visit Ticketmaster – the Aggies' official online ticketing partner.
Game times for each of the announced contests will be announced at a later date.
Upon conclusion of the CUSA regular season, the league's teams will compete in the 2024 C-USA Basketball Championships scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 through Saturday, March 16, at Propst Arena in Huntsville, Ala.
The conference tournament champions will also receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
For complete coverage of NM State men's basketball during the 2023-24 season, visit NMStateSports.com – the official home of the Aggies – and follow the Aggies on Facebook (NM State Men's Basketball), Twitter (@NMStateMBB) and Instagram (@NMStateMBB).
2023-24 NM STATE CONFERENCE USA SCHEDULE
Saturday, Jan. 6 – UTEP
Thursday, Jan. 11 – at Florida International
Thursday, Jan. 18 – Western Kentucky
Saturday, Jan. 20 – Middle Tennessee
Thursday, Jan. 25 – at Sam Houston
Saturday, Jan. 27 – at Louisiana Tech
Thursday, Feb. 1 – Liberty
Saturday, Feb. 3 – Jacksonville State
Saturday, Feb. 10 – at UTEP
Thursday, Feb. 15 – at Middle Tennessee
Saturday, Feb. 17 – at Western Kentucky
Thursday, Feb. 22 – Sam Houston
Saturday, Feb. 24 – Louisiana Tech
Thursday, Feb. 29 – at Liberty
Saturday, March 2 – at Jacksonville State
Saturday, March 9 – Florida International