NM State unveils 2023-24 men's basketball non-conference schedule

The New Mexico State men's basketball non-conference schedule is set for first-year coach Jason Hooten.

The Aggies will host seven home games during the non-conference portion of the schedule while also traveling to the state of Kentucky to take on the University of Kentucky and Louisville.

In the first season of the Hooten era, the Aggies will face a loaded non-conference slate, beginning on the road. The Aggies will open the season at Kentucky on Nov. 6. The two squads have only met once previously with the showdown coming in the 1999 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which the Wildcats won.

NM State’s home opener will be on Tuesday, Nov. 8 vs. Sul Ross. Home games will follow against Western New Mexico (Nov. 14) and Northern Colorado (Nov. 18).

Jason Hooten, the new NMSU basketball head coach, smiles during a news conference on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at the Pan American Center.
Jason Hooten, the new NMSU basketball head coach, smiles during a news conference on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at the Pan American Center.

While NM State and Northern Colorado will meet in Las Cruces, the contest kicks off the Cancun Challenge for the Aggies. Hooten’s squad will venture to Riviera Maya, Mexico, to take on Fresno State and either James Madison or Southern Illinois at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. When the Aggies take on the Cancun Challenge, it will be NM State’s first regular season trip to Mexico since Dec. 4, 1948, when the Aggies battled the Chihuahua All Stars.

Following the trip to Mexico, NM State will continue its road swing and take on Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday, Nov. 26. The Aggies have previously battled the Cardinals five times, winning the Feb. 7, 1974, meeting between the two programs in Las Cruces.

More: New Mexico State football drops Conference USA opener at Liberty

NM State and New Mexico will once again meet in the Battle of I-25 on two separate occasions. The Aggies will make the trip north to Albuquerque on Saturday, Dec. 2 before the Lobos visit Las Cruces on Friday, Dec. 15. The pair of showdowns will be the first between the in-state rivals since 2021.

Just before an eight-day break for the holidays, the Aggies will travel to Tulsa, Okla., to battle the Golden Hurricane on Friday, Dec. 22. The former Missouri Valley Conference foes will meet on the hardwood for the first time since Jan. 10, 2005, and will be the 37th all-time meeting between the two squads.

The Aggies will play a pair of old Western Athletic Conference foes in December when they visit Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 19 and entertain California Baptist on Dec. 30.

More: New Mexico State football: Three takeaways from Aggies loss at Liberty

The Aggies, who will be competing in Conference USA for the first time, will begin league play on Jan. 4 at home vs. UTEP.

Felix F. Chavez can be reached at; @Fchavezeptimes on Twitter

2023-24 NM State Non-Conference Schedule

Monday, Nov. 6 at Kentucky

Wednesday, Nov. 8 vs. Sul Ross State (Home Opener)

Saturday, Nov. 11 at UC Irvine

Tuesday, Nov. 14  vs. Western New Mexico

Saturday, Nov. 18 vs. Northern Colorado

Tuesday, Nov. 21 vs. Fresno State (Cancun, Mexico)

Wednesday, Nov. 22 vs. James Madison/Southern Illinois (Cancun, Mexico)

Sunday, Nov. 26 at Louisville

Tuesday, Nov. 28 vs. University of the Southwest

Saturday, Dec. 2 at New Mexico

Tuesday, Dec. 12 vs. Northern New Mexico

Friday, Dec. 15 vs. New Mexico

Tuesday, Dec. 19 at Stephen F. Austin

Friday, Dec. 22 at Tulsa

Saturday, Dec. 30 vs. California Baptist

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Aggies will host seven non-conference games at the Pan American Center