The Wolf Pack basketball team’s regular season is coming to a close, with just three games left to be played before the Mountain West and NCAA tournaments. Nevada has been nearly perfect this season, but not perfect enough for the Bracketologists given the team’s relative dearth of quality wins. I rounded up some of the recent national coverage of the team for “What the Internet is saying about Nevada basketball, Vol. 3.” Here you go.
We might as well start with Nevada’s seeding. It’s not great despite the Wolf Pack being 26-2 overall and 13-2 in the MW. ESPN has Nevada as a No. 5 seed, playing the winner of Temple vs. Clemson in San Jose as part of the East Region. The NCAA’s Andy Katz is more optimistic, placing Nevada as the last fourth seeding, playing Yale in the East Region. That’s about as good a placement as you’ll find for the Wolf Pack on the friendly Internet. BracketMatrix’s consensus of several dozen brackets has Nevada as the final No. 5 seed, just 0.01 spots ahead of Virginia Tech, which will get a boost after its win over Duke this week.
The Wolf Pack also has a shot at a huge win this weekend when it plays Utah State, which is the last team in the tournament, per ESPN’s latest bracket. BracketMatrix also has Utah State in as a play-in game 12th seed. This contest will be Nevada’s first Quad 1 game of the season (and unlike previous Quad 1 games, it will remain there until Selection Sunday). It’s a big matchup for the MW regular-season title race (a win would give Nevada a share of the title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament), but it’s equally big in terms of NCAA Tournament seeding. A win could push Nevada up to a four seed; a loss would most likely push the Wolf Pack down to a six seed. It’s even bigger for Utah State, which basically has to beat Nevada to stay in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth.
Caleb Martin a national star (still)
ESPN ranked its top 25 players in college basketball and Caleb Martin slipped a spot from its last rankings but still sits at No. 11. ESPN writes:
Martin checks in alongside some pretty elite company nationally, yet he might not even win player of the year in the Mountain West or even on his own team. He’ll receive strong competition for both honors from Jordan Caroline, who’s having a great medium-volume year shooting 3s and who does the dirty work for the Wolf Pack on the glass. Put it this way: Debating which 6-foot-7 senior is more deserving of accolades is a really nice problem for Eric Musselman to have. One note to be sounded in Martin’s favor in such discussions is that he is the most effective overall option on offense for a Nevada team that’s dominating the MWC with its defense but is running neck and neck with Utah State for the title of most-efficient scoring in conference play. The senior from North Carolina averages 19 points and does so with an individual turnover rate low enough to be felt at the level of team performance. In other words, it’s no mistake Musselman’s guys have the lowest team turnover percentage in MWC play.