UNM won't schedule UTEP over NIT spat?

It hasn't been easy over the years for New Mexico to put together a schedule since opponents generally don't like going to The Pit, one of the toughest places to play in America.

Now it appears a previously proposed series of games between regional rivals New Mexico and UTEP that would have had the Miners visiting Albuquerque this coming season has fallen apart. As Lobos coach Steve Alford told 770 KKOB, "The UTEP game is something I'm not in favor of."

Why might Alford turn down a quality opponent in UTEP, a team the Lobos have faced 141 times since 1929? Well, there was that verbal incident at The Pit last season over the shootaround times before an NIT game between the two teams.

The two coaching staffs got riled up over UTEP's scheduled warm-up time in the building and had a confrontation that didn't simmer down until after the coaches had taken their shots in the media.

We know Alford and Floyd, two of the more passionate coaches around, can easily get their feathers ruffled. Still, the Albuquerque Journal noted even after all that, UTEP coach Tim Floyd maintained he was open to returning to The Pit, saying, "I think we should play every year until they take the air out of the basketball. We come up here next (season) because it's important to the fans of the programs."

Alford is now apparently in disagreement, and after New Mexico ended up winning the NIT game, it doesn't appear that the two teams will be meeting any time soon despite having a rivalry that was just starting to heat up again.

It's really too bad that the air in the basketball has apparently been replaced by a bunch of hot air.