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Friday, June 4, 2010
Arizona State's season opener is 'not ideal'

By Diamond Leung

Arizona State will open its season on the road for the first time in 18 years, and the Sun Devils chose to play at a place known for providing one of the loudest hostile environments in the country -- The Pit.

New Mexico is coming off a conference championship season, and being that the ASU game is expected to be only the second game played in the newly renovated Pit, it's safe to say Lobos fans will be out in full force to make some noise.

Why is a Pac-10 team coming off a 22-win season scheduling this game?

"Opening on the road is not ideal, but we felt the opportunity to play a regional team with a strong RPI was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and we look forward to them coming to Wells Fargo Arena in 2011-12," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said in a statement.

"The schedule will be extremely challenging with so many newcomers and replacing three seniors who played a lot of minutes, but we look forward to that challenge."

Expansion could change the makeup of the Pac-10 and the Mountain West Conference soon, but for now, it's the MWC that has bragging rights.

The score? 4-2 MWC when it comes to NCAA tournament bids received this season (though the Pac-10 had the 3-2 advantage in tournament wins). According to Andy Katz, even a WAC coach whose team merely might end up in the MWC is talking this up.

So when Sendek and the Sun Devils step into The Pit, expect the conference rivalry to be talked (and screamed) about as well.