New Mexico beat Texas-El Paso in an NIT first-round game Tuesday night in Albuquerque. The Lobos advance.
But the better story was a fairly heated argument Tuesday morning between the coaching staffs of Alford's New Mexico team and Floyd's UTEP squad. The two once prowled sidelines in Iowa, Alford at the U. of Iowa and Floyd at Iowa State. Their eras at those schools did not intersect.
There was a debate over which team should have been on the New Mexico court for a shootaround at a certain time, dull stuff like that. But the comments of the coaches later were beautiful. These comments came from this Albuquerque Journal story:
“There’s no love loss in the rivalry, that’s for sure,” Alford said of the Lobos’ 141st game against UTEP. “They do things one way, we do things (pause) — there’s a lot of ways to be successful, and there’s a lot of ways to do things. They do things quite a bit differently than what we do.”
“We requested 11 a.m., they took 11,” said Floyd, a former coach for the Chicago Bulls and in his 17th year as a collegiate coach. “So we said, ‘OK, we’ll go 10-to-11,’ and they said they needed a 30-minute window beforehand. We said, ‘OK, we’ll go at noon.’ They said, ‘Well, we have a 30-minute window on the back end.’
“So I said, ‘We’ll go at 9:30,’ so we go at 9:30, and they’re up there watching our practice,” Floyd said of the Lobos. “Then they came walking down on the floor. I’ve never had that happen in my career, and I felt there was no place for it. This was not a Lobo home game. It’s an NIT championship event.”
“It was feisty,” said Lobo sophomore Jamal Fenton, who started at point guard in place of injured senior Dairese Gary. “I guess they stayed late, and coach Alford didn’t want to have that. Coach (UNM assistant Craig) Neal got into it, we had to calm it down. We really didn’t need any extra hype for this game; the shoot-around got us hyped up enough.”Isn't that special?