Redbirds to Host UNLV in Valley-MWC Challenge

April 13, 2010

ST. LOUIS - The Missouri Valley Conference and the Mountain West Conference announced next season's pairings for the Challenge Series between the two conferences and Illinois State will host UNLV on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena on Dec. 1, 2010.

The other eight games in the Challenge Series will take place during the same week (Dec. 1-5, 2010). The agreement between the Mountain West and Missouri Valley conferences is in the second year of a four-year term. Nine Challenge Series games will be played each year, and each conference will host a total of 18 games in the four-year period.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to have the chance to play UNLV," head coach Tim Jankovich said. "I believe they return everyone from an outstanding NCAA team. They will also probably be a preseason Top-25 ranked team, at the minimum, and are as well-coached as anyone in America.

"Coach Kruger and I have a strong history, as he was an assistant coach at Kansas State when I was a player. He also gave me my start in this profession as a graduate assistant in the early 1980s (at Texas-Pan American)."

The Redbirds are 1-2 against UNLV in the series history with the last meeting coming Jan. 13, 1978, when the Redbirds suffered a 94-92 loss to No. 11 UNLV, in Las Vegas, Nev. A season earlier, the Redbirds posted one of their biggest wins in school history with an 88-84 victory at Horton Field House over the then-ranked No. 4 Runnin' Rebels.

Last year, the MVC won the series, 5-4, but notably all four MWC winning teams reached the NCAA Tournament, including UNLV. In all, the leagues combined for four NCAA Tournament victories, which included a Sweet 16 appearance by UNI and first-round wins by BYU and New Mexico. The leagues combined for a total of 11 post-season berths and 10-post-season wins, which featured a championship title run by Missouri State ( Postseason Tournament).



The Challenge will feature head-to-head competition between nine Mountain West and nine Missouri Valley teams annually. Missouri State will be the MVC team that does not participate in the 2010 Challenge Series.

The two leagues will alternate between having five home games in one year and four in the second year (the Valley had five home games in 2009 and will only have four in 2010). In the third and fourth years of the Challenge Series, the Valley will have five home games one season and four in the other. Pairings are made in two-year cycles with no team having two-straight road or two-straight home games during that two-year period. In the 2011 and 2012 challenges, every team that participates will also receive one road and one home game. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.