Pack hoop squad tough one to figure out | NevadaAppeal.com

Pack hoop squad tough one to figure out

Sports fodder for a Friday morning …The Nevada Wolf Pack’s 98-42 men’s basketball loss to the Colorado State Rams on Wednesday night is, without question, one of the worst losses in school history in any sport. It’s the second largest loss (behind a 62-point loss to St. Joseph’s in Dec. 1971) in the history of the men’s basketball program. The football team has regularly been destroyed by 50-plus points but most of those losses were to far superior teams. The blowout loss at Colorado State, though, was totally unexpected. The Rams were without their best player. The Pack had just beaten UNLV a week ago. This is a game the Pack could have won and nobody would have labeled it a shocking upset. The 56-point loss made no sense. The Pack was down 43 at halftime. It was a complete meltdown.

What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. The Wolf Pack is still the same team we think it is before the ugly loss in Fort Collins. It can beat any team in the Mountain West and it can lose to any team in the Mountain West. The league is just that mediocre this year. Don’t be shocked if the Wolf Pack beats Colorado State on March 4 at Lawlor Events Center. Don’t overreact to anything (good or bad) this Pack team does this year. This is a team that can go to UNLV and win and then come back home three days later and lose to Fresno State. It’s roller coaster basketball.

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The problem with this Pack team is not only doesn’t it have a No. 1 scorer, it doesn’t even have a No. 2 scorer. It’s a team made up of a bunch of third options. It’s like a soccer team comprised of only midfielders, a football team full of fullbacks and tight ends and a baseball team with only No. 6 and 7 hitters. It’s not a team void of talent. It’s just the talent is not put-the-team-on-my-back talent. That is where point guard Marqueze Coleman comes in. Coleman, who’s taking over the point from departed senior Deonte Burton, has yet to fully take over the team. The Wolf Pack had 12 points at halftime on Wednesday. Burton once scored 11 points by himself in the final six minutes to send a game against Washington into overtime. And then he scored eight more points in the first four minutes of overtime. That’s what a point guard must do when his teammates need him the most, especially on a team without a legitimate No. 1 (or 2) scorer. Coleman has to take ownership of this team. He has the ability, whether he knows it or not.

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The San Francisco 49ers are taking a huge risk by naming Jim Tomsula as head coach. Tomsula has never been a head coach or coordinator in the NFL. He’s a former NFL Europe coach who has only been with one team (the 49ers since 2007) in the NFL. This is a guy you turn over an organization that expects to compete for the Super Bowl every year? But what did you expect from an organization that ran Jim Harbaugh out of town? The 49ers just might be turning into the Oakland Raiders right before our eyes.

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The Raiders, surprise, surprise, actually hired a qualified, competent NFL head coach in Jack Del Rio. Something weird is going on in the Bay area. The Raiders beat the 49ers this season and now the Raiders, not the 49ers, are the ones who make the reasonable, defensible head coaching hire. The days of Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Joe Bugel, Mike White, Dennis Allen, Tom Cable, Lane Kiffin, Art Shell and Hue Jackson as Raiders head coach are over. The Raiders might even have the better quarterback with the more long-term, stable future ahead of him.

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Don’t give up on Colin Kaepernick just yet. The ex-Pack quarterback just might benefit by Harbaugh’s departure. Tomsula won’t make him a better quarterback but the new 49ers offensive coordinator just might. Kaepernick seemed to hit a wall under the guidance of Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman this year. Whether that was the fault of Kaepernick or Harbaugh and Roman, well, we’re about to find out. It all depends on Kaepernick’s attitude. His response to criticism in the past was simply to pull his baseball cap down over his eyes, scowl at the world and turn up the volume on his Beats by Dre headphones. That has to change or else Kaepernick will follow Harbaugh and Roman out of town by this time next year.

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No general manager in baseball goes from genius to flake and back again faster than Billy Beane. We were all scratching our heads a month or so ago as Beane let one star Oakland A’s player after another leave town. But now Beane has gone out and acquired Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard and the A’s look like a playoff team once again. No GM manipulates a roster as well as Beane. His moves don’t always work (see Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester last summer) but he’s never going to stop trying.