LAS CRUCES – The night cap of the opening round of the Albuquerque Regional of the million dollar The Basketball Tournament will add an interesting chapter to the New Mexico, New Mexico State basketball rivalry.
The Aggie alumni team, The Panamaniacs, seeded No. 5 in the region, will play the Lobos alumni, The Enchantment, the No. 4 seed, in the first round on July 18 at 8 pm, at The Pit on ESPNU as the entire bracket was released on Wednesday.
Current New Mexico State athletics director Mario Moccia will be the head coach of The Panamaniacs, NM State’s first venture in the 64-team tournament. The roster will feature former players such as Justin Hawkins and Wendell McKines to recent standouts such as Zach Lofton and Johnny McCants.
“Every player in both group chats was like, ‘Let’s go,'” said former NM State player Brandon Mason, who is the General Manager for both New Mexico teams. “That’s the game that they wanted and I’m pretty sure it’s the game the fans wanted and at least one team from New Mexico will advance.”
Mason is the General Manager for both New Mexico alumni teams and was instrumental in landing an Albuquerque Regional after well attended UNM alumni games and a NMSU versus UNM alumni game at The Pit in 2016. Mason said the Aggies alumni team will have a training camp in Las Cruces in mid-July.
“I told them I knew for a fact, it would be a good draw and told them about the alumni games,” Mason said. “At the end of the day, they are putting on a great event and it’s going to be on ESPNU so they want fans and they want a great atmosphere. I was there last year (with The Enchantment) and when I went, it felt like the NCAA Tournament.”
The Panamaniacs game will be the last of four games on July 18. The LA Cheaters play Ram Up, a Colorado State team, at 1 pm, followed by Boise State’s Once a Bronco versus Team Challenge ALS at 3 pm The second session starts at 6 pm, with top-seeded Heartfire against Competitive Choice at 6 pm
The semifinals are at 5 pm, and 7 pm, on July 19 and the regional championship is July 21 at 7 pm, with the winner advancing to the tournament quarterfinals in late July.
Tickets are on sale at GoLobos.com.
Head coach: Kenny Thomas
Head coach: Mario Moccia
Evan Gilyard II