ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The UNM basketball program has not quite been the same since former coach Steve Alford left the team to join UCLA. Alford’s tenure with the Bruins was short-lived, and the old Lobo coach is back in the Mountain West, coaching Nevada. Now in his third season with the Wolf Pack, Alford will face UNM’s Richard Pitino for the first time.

Story continues below

Alford is one of the most successful coaches in UNM history, boasting a .749 winning percentage and taking the Lobos to three NCAA tournaments. It’s still early in coach Pitino’s Lobo career, but he knows the standard that Alford set for Lobo basketball. “Well, I have a high level of respect for what he did here,” says Pitino. “We’re trying to get back to those days. We got a long way to go to get there, and we got to continue to rebuild this roster, but he showed what can be done. The Pit was as good of a home-court as any when he was here, so I have a high level of respect.”

Alford has faced the Lobos four times since taking his current job at Nevada, winning every matchup against his former team. Saturday, however, will be the first time Alford squares off against Rich Pitino and his squad. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be broadcast on FS1.