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Report: UTEP, New Mexico to resume hoops rivalry

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Craig Neal and Tim Floyd have seemed to squash the 2011 NIT beef with the renewal of the New Mexico v. UTEP rivalry.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

According to Geoff Grammer, the New Mexico Lobos basketball beat writer for the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico head coach Craig Neal is warming up to the idea of playing UTEP again.

Neal told Grammer on Thursday that he has been in discussions with CTF on renewing the rivalry via a four game series with two games at the Pit, and two at the Don that would start in the 2016-17 season.

Since UNM joined the Mountain West before the start of the 1999-2000 season, the Miners and Lobos have played only four times in the regular season. The schools have played 141 times since 1929.

Of course the last matchup in 2011 fueled the ongoing beef between the two programs when Steve Alford’s and Floyd’s staff got into a reported shouting match over practice time before a 2011 NIT First Round tilt between the Lobos and Miners.

Neal was on Alford’s staff as an assistant at the time, a UNM player was quoted after the incident stating Neal was the one who “got into it” back in 2011.

It’s good to see Neal put aside what is a petty beef, and give both fan bases something to buzz about in the OOC portion of their schedules in the future.

Talk about the renewal of the long time rivalry from the Journal came about during UTEP’s New Bowl appearance in December of 2014.

No word from UTEP, or confirmation from Floyd that a deal is complete.