Pack hoops need help
The Wolf Pack basketball team is in a freefall.
Once considered one of the best mid-major programs in the West, the Nevada men’s basketball team has floated to uncharted waters not seen in the last 40 years.
After riding a season-high four-game winning streak, which included an impressive road win over UNLV, the Wolf Pack have dropped their last two. While Fresno State snapped that streak on Saturday, Wednesday’s loss was the most devastating.
Colorado State demolished Nevada, 98-42, in Fort Collins, giving the Wolf Pack their second largest loss in school history.
Fans haven’t seen the team lose that bad since 1971 when Nevada lost to St. Joseph’s (Pa.), 128-66. Nevada didn’t stand a chance at winning on Wednesday after the Rams opened up with a 16-2 lead in the first half before taking a 55-12 advantage at intermission. Colorado State already had a 25-3 lead 10 minutes into the game. Oh, Colorado State was even without its leading scorer.
All of that momentum from the winning streak is completely gone as Nevada tries to find answers.
Can the Wolf Pack rise up next week when an old nemesis invades Lawlor Events Center?
Utah State, which hasn’t dominated like the WAC days, comes to Reno on Tuesday and could either continue feasting on the Wolf Pack like Fresno State and Colorado State. Or Nevada could wake up and turn its season around right now and take out the frustration on the Aggies.
David Carter’s future with the program seemed to take a nice step into a contract extension after beating UNLV for the third-straight time last week. But after these two losses, I can’t help but wonder about the team’s future.
I was hopeful when he took over for Mark Fox, who bolted for more money in Georgia. I joked that Nevada could win without Fox because Carter was the brains of the program as well as being a good recruiter. I’m so glad it was just a joke.
But Nevada is nothing like the teams that Fox and Trent Johnson coached. It’s not even close. Even the 2004 or 2007 Wolf Pack team would have drubbed this year’s club by 50-plus points.
Nevada doesn’t have the talent like it once did after the Sweet 16 appearance and multiple conference championships last decade. The fans don’t have much faith in the program anymore, as evident with the diminishing attendance every season. You can blame the Wolf Pack’s poor performance along with the university’s greed in taking advantage of the past teams and raising ticket prices and reassigning the seating.
Nevertheless, the Wolf Pack team is in bad shape. The winning streak was simply a mirage that this team could be one of the best in the conference. Instead, we’re seeing Nevada’s true colors and they’re anything but silver and blue. Try morbid black.
Luckily, the season is far from over.
Nevada is 2-2 in the conference after opening the Mountain West slate with wins over Air Force and UNLV. The Wolf Pack entertain the Aggies on Saturday and can’t afford another crushing loss.
They need to restore faith that the program is not a doormat to the conference’s superior teams. They need to inject confidence in themselves, as well as the fan base.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.