Musselman going home for road game | NevadaAppeal.com

Musselman going home for road game

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

This weekend will be a homecoming for Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman.

Musselman, who played at the University of San Diego, is taking his team down today instead of Saturday for Sunday’s game against San Diego State at Viejas Arena (1 p.m., CBS Sports Network) for a couple of reasons.

“It’s an early game (on Sunday),” Musselman said. “I want to stay focused for what is going to be an emotional game.

“Then I’m going to do stuff (with the players) that’s personal to me. They have always heard me talk about La Jolla Rec (where I played). We might even do a walkthrough.”

The second-year Nevada coach said he’s had about 100 requests for tickets for the nationally televised game.

“There are five people flying in from Minnesota and two guys from Ohio,” Musselman said. “Obviously my mom lives there and my wife and daughter are flying down.

“My college teammates who are scattered around the country are coming. One from Sacramento, one from Portland, one from Seattle and one from Las Vegas. It will be neat for me to be able to catch up with a lot of people. I grew up in San Diego, and it’s always been a home base.”

RAMSEY PLAYS WELL

Freshman point guard Devearl Ramsey had one of his most complete games of the season, scoring four points, pulling down six rebounds, three on the offensive end, with three assists and two steals in 13 minutes of Wednesday’s 104-77 win over UNLV.

“I thought he had a phenomenal game, especially rebounding,” Musselman said. “We have talked about rebounding at every position. Six rebounds for a guy his size is phenomenal. He rebounded in traffic and got loose balls, and created extra possessions.”

The 6-foot Ramsey darts around like a little gnat, and everything he does is at full speed.

“He has to because of his size,” Musselman said. “If he doesn’t play ultra energetic mode he isn’t going to be effective.”

AROUND THE MW

The hottest teams in the conference right now are Boise State and San Jose State. Both are on three-game win streaks heading into the weekend.

Boise State, tied for first with Nevada at 8-3, has knocked off Wyoming (80-65), Colorado State (79-76) and Utah State (72-70) since losing to Nevada back on Jan. 25 in Boise.

The biggest surprise is San Jose. The Spartans are 12-10, including a 5-6 conference mark. The Spartans knocked off UNLV (72-70), New Mexico (78-68) and San Diego State (76-71).

“Not really,” said Musselman when asked if there were any surprises thus far. “Every night is hard in our conference. I think the conference is underrated. There are no givens. You see upsets every night. It is so balanced. All we can do is play as hard as we can.

“I think the San Jose State coaching staff has done a phenomenal job. They are playing hard, and they are playing a lot of their younger players. When that happens they get better as the season progresses.”

COACHING AWARD

With the season just past the halfway mark, three coaches are separating themselves in the race for Mountain West Coach of the Year.

The obvious frontrunner is Musselman, who has his team off to a 19-5 start, the fourth-best start in school history through 24 games. The Pack has been at or near the top since conference play started.

The second candidate would be San Jose’s Dave Wojcik. The Spartans are over the .500 mark for the first time in five years.

The third candidate is Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy. The Rams have just seven scholarship players, one less than Nevada, and they are just a game out of the conference lead. The Rams come to Nevada on March 4.