Nevada will definitely host a Bracket Buster game this year, and six games will be televised this year instead of the usual five.
Boise State, Hawai'i, San Jose State and Utah State also will get home games in the Bracket Buster, according to Jeff Hurd, senior associate commissioner for the Western Athletic Conference.
One of the reasons Nevada is getting a Bracket Buster home game for the third straight year is that the Pack is having problems getting teams to come to Reno.
Also, Hurd said the final WAC basketball schedule has yet to be finalized because of the WAC's Big Monday obligations. Hurd said the WAC will appear on Big Monday (9 p.m. PDT) four or five times during the season.
"ESPN wants the best game (all the time), and we want to get as many teams involved as we can," Hurd said. "It's our interests against theirs. We're trying to come to a compromise."
Hurd doesn't want to see a team make more than two Big Monday appearances per season. Being on Big Monday means the schedule will shift at times from its Thursday-Saturday format. Games, depending on travel, also will be played on Wednesdays this season.
Hurd said the WAC didn't go to a Saturday-Monday format like the Mountain West Conference did last year simply because the WAC won't play every Monday. Hurd said that conference athletic directors don't like regular Monday games because the group doesn't feel they will draw well.
The WAC exec hopes to have the schedule finalized within a month.
NEVADA WOMEN'S UPDATE
Kim Gervasoni said Tuesday that she will have a new assistant coach in place by the end of the month.
Gervasoni said the new assistant has plenty of Division I experience, and that her present team reached the Sweet 16 last season. Gervasoni would not release her name because the coach is still being paid by her present employer.
Gervasoni is taking her team to the Virgin Islands for a two-day tournament over Thanksgiving. The trip was arranged through Basketball Travelers, the same group that the Nevada men went through for their trip to Italy. The Nevada coach said she is using funds generated from a golf tournament for her late husband and assistant coach, Mike, who was killed in a tragic auto accident last fall.
It will be a great experience for Gervasoni's young team. The Pack opens with Minnesota, and then plays the winner/loser of the Virginia-Alabama game. Another four-team tournament featuring North Carolina, Tennessee and Michigan State is going on at the same time.
"We're in the weaker of the two brackets, but it's still very strong," Gervasoni said.
The Nevada women come back the next weekend for their own tournament. Gonzaga, Northern Colorado and Northwestern State of Louisiana are the other three teams in the Dec. 2-3 event.
MANCEBO NOT DONE?
Gervasoni said she is still holding out slim hope that Jocelyn Mancebo, who was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year and underwent surgery in October, could eventually come back to the team for the 2006-2007 season.
"The cancer hasn't come back," Gervasoni said. "That's very, very good in terms of her health. She is still having seizures, though. When they can get those under control, she could play."
Gervasoni said Mancebo is still undergoing chemotherapy, and that she would remain on scholarship this season. It would be truly remarkable if Mancebo can make a return, even in a limited role.
Mancebo averaged 11 points a game during the 2003-2004 season.
Hurd said that the bid process for next year's conference tournament ends in mid-July.
"We will review the bids with the baseball coaches in August, and a decision will be made in September," Hurd said.
The double-elimination tournament will feature the top six teams. Hurd said that the tournament will run over a five-day period, and that he won't toss out any school whether it has lights or not.
Karl Benson, WAC commissioner, said that he wants the tournament to have a "tournament-like atmosphere."
Benson said he isn't concerned about travel when it comes to determining a site. Hawai'i would certainly fill the bill, but would be expensive for the other five teams.
Reggie Theus, the former UNLV star and newly hired head coach at New Mexico State University, was named one of the top 25 recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com last week.
Theus, who was hired in March, already has signed six new players. Four of those players - Martin Iti (UNC-Charlotte), Trei Stewart (Northern Colorado), Justin Hawkins (Utah) and Fred Peete (Kansas State) - are Division I transfers.
Who knows, it may not take Theus long to get NMSU in the thick of a title chase in the WAC.
WAC COMINGS AND GOINGS
Jen Warden, Boise State's women's basketball coach, has left the Broncos to become the new head coach at Colorado State. Warden had applied at University of Colorado where she'd been an assistant, but then took her name out of the running... University of Idaho has added veteran assistant Leroy Washington to its men's coaching staff. Washington played for current Golden State head coach and former Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery when the latter was head coach at Montana.
Darrell Moody can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281