Nevada belongs in the Big Dance

When Nevada lost to Boise State, I admit that I wasn't sure if the Wolf Pack would make their second straight appearance.

Everybody in the press room at the WAC Tournament says they are in, and even a few coaches I questioned say the same thing. They have me convinced.

Here's why the Pack should move on.

n When you look at the 24-6 record, five of those losses came by a total of 18 points. The only bad loss was to Kansas, 85-52.

n Nevada should get some props for its dominating 16-2 league season and winning the regular-season championship. The 16 wins was a WAC record.

n The NCAA likes to see a team win on the road, and without question, the Pack were road warriors with a 10-2 mark, including an 11-2 overall road mark and a perfect 9-0 WAC road mark. Make no mistake about it, the WAC is a difficult road league because of the travel between games.

n The Pack has won 10 of their last 11 games, and the NCAA likes to see a team finish strong.

What will work against Nevada

n Nevada's non-conference schedule wasn't very strong, especially the teams it played at the Dodge Classic and the Jim Thorpe Tournament. The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Georgia State, Florida Atlantic and Eastern Illinois would never strike fear in anybody's hearts.

n Its first-round loss to Boise State.

Nevada supposedly had trouble attracting teams to Reno, but the committee can't consider that. The schedule is what it is. I don't know who Nevada has tried to bring to Reno, but one option I would explore next year is trying to get some of the departing WAC schools to play a home and home series.

Heck, Nevada-UTEP is turning into a nice rivalry, and I would love to see it continue. Ditto for SMU and Tulsa.

GIVE WIGGINS THE JOB

The Fresno State women finished the season with a 7-3 record under the direction of interim coach Adrian Wiggins, who took over when Stacy Johnson-Klein was first suspended and then fired for a plethora of violations.

When Louisiana Tech coach Kurt Budke came in for his post-game interview, he praised Fresno State, and Wiggins in particular.

"Adrian Wiggins deserves that job," Budke said. "He's got them playing unbelievably now. I wouldn't want to face them in the NCAA Tournament."

Wiggins is in a tough position, partially because Klein-Johnson brought him into the program. He no doubt would like it, but one wonders whether he has enough experience. FSU may want to go with a more-experienced coach, and you can't blame them.

"It is nice (to hear that)," Wiggins said. "A lot of them - coach Budke, coach McKinney (Rice) and coach Richard (San Jose State) have done a good job all year. For them to say that means a lot."

Fresno State center Amy Parrish said that the team would love to have Wiggins back on a permanent basis, and that the team has talked to the FSU administration to let it know how the team feels.

No doubt Wiggins will probably get an interview. He deserves a chance. The Bulldogs have been a different and better team through all the turmoil surrounding their old coach. They say basketball is fun again.

n Darrell Moody can be reached at nevadaappeal.com, or by calling 881-1281.

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