Wyoming Plays Illinois State In 2012 MW/MVC Challenge

March 2, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Illinois State Redbirds forward Jackie Carmichael (32) talks with guard Nic Moore (11) as they play the Northern Iowa Panthers during the first half of quarterfinals in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

The Mountain West and Missouri Valley Conferences will extend their inter-league challenge for a fourth year. The two conferences announced the 2012 pairings on Monday. The Mountain West holds a 16-10 edge over the first three seasons, last year the conferences split the matchups 4-4.

Wyoming will hit the road this time for a trip to Normal, IL to face the Redbirds of Illinois State on December 4th. The Cowboys have won two straight in the challenge and are 2-1 overall. This won't be an easy contest and adding in a long trip for a Tuesday night game makes it even tougher. The majority of the games are being played on Saturday, December 1st.

Last year Illinois State finished 21-14 (9-9) and made it to the second round of the NIT as a seventh seed. The beat Mississippi in Oxford to start and then lost on the road to Stanford 92-88. Even scarier is that the Redbirds return every single player on a team that won 21 games. They have seven seniors for the 2012-13 season and will certainly be a contender for Missouri Valley title. 6-9 240lb F Jackie Carmichael led the team with 13.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. 6-4 SG Tyler Brown averaged 13.7 points and shot 45% from the field and behind the arc. PG Nic Moore had a strong freshmen season averaging 10 points and 3.9 rebounds. He finished the year with three straight games of 20 or more points.

Playing Illinois State (#98) will certainly give the Cowboys a bigger boost in RPI then last year when they beat Bradley (#256). The Pokes weak non-conference schedule was a big reason they were passed over by the NIT selection committee. Wyoming said that the basketball team has almost completed their home game schedule for the 12-13 season. It should be released in the next couple weeks.

Here are the full pairings for the 2012 Mountain West - Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. The MVC has ten teams while the Mountain West nine, Bradley will be sitting out this year

2012 CHALLENGE DATES Series Records
Nov. 17 San Diego State at Missouri State (Series tied, 2-2; last meeeting 3/14/07)
Nov. 28 Boise State at Creighton (First meeting)
Nov. 28 Fresno State at Southern Illinois (SIU leads, 1-0; only meeting 3/9/66)
Dec. 1 Wichita State at Air Force (WSU leads, 1-0; only meeting 1/26/63)
Dec. 1 Evansville at Colorado State (First meeting)
Dec. 1 Drake at Nevada (Drake leads, 3-0; last meeting 12/16/69)
Dec. 1 New Mexico at Indiana State (First meeeting)
Dec. 4 Wyoming at Illinois State (UW leads, 1-0; only meeting 12/28/85)
Dec. 19 UNI at UNLV (UNI leads, 0-1; only meeting 3/18/10)

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