Pack needs ‘Marqueze’ player | NevadaAppeal.com

Pack needs ‘Marqueze’ player

Sports fodder for a Friday morning… The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team needs Marqueze Coleman. That’s about all we learned from the Pack’s 76-57 loss at Boise State on Wednesday. The sky isn’t falling, the Wolf Pack hasn’t lost its fire and passion and the season isn’t over. But a little reality did set back in. Coleman needs to get back on the floor. The Pack played roughly a game and a half with Coleman on the bench with a severe ankle sprain and beat Utah State and Colorado State. Those victories sort of gave everyone in silver and blue a false sense of security and a feeling the team could overcome the loss of its best player. Coleman runs the offense. He’s the team leader. He’s the Pack’s leading scorer. He makes everyone else better. He needs to play in the Mountain West tournament next week for the Pack to have a realistic chance of playing well for three games in a row.

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The Wolf Pack, now 18-11, closes its regular season on Saturday night at home against New Mexico. The winner of the game will finish fourth in the Mountain West. The game could also be crucial as far as the Wolf Pack’s confidence is concerned heading into the Mountain West tournament. The biggest reason is the Pack could end up playing New Mexico again in its first tournament game next Thursday in Las Vegas. Another reason is coach Eric Musselman detests losing two games in a row. It’s happened just one other time this season and Musselman won’t be happy going into the tournament with two losses in a row. The Pack is also just two wins shy of 20 for the season and needs to start piling up wins to get into the NIT if the NCAA dreams fall short. Saturday night is the biggest game of the year to date for this team.

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If the Wolf Pack does somehow find a way to play its best basketball of the year over the next 10 days and pulls off a stunning upset in the Mountain West tournament it would be the school’s most unlikely NCAA tournament team in over three decades. The 1983-84 Wolf Pack, coached by Sonny Allen, came out of nowhere to get to the NCAA tournament. The 1983-84 team was 11-13 in the middle of February after a three-game losing streak. It finished just 7-7 and tied for third in the Big Sky Conference. But that team somehow caught fire at the right time. Led by Curtis High, Dannie Jones, Ed Porter, Quentin Stephens and Tony Sommers the Pack won its last three regular season games and all three in the Big Sky tournament. It was an awful free throw shooting team (57 percent) and nobody scored as many as 14 points a game or averaged more than seven boards a game. But they got hot for two weeks. So, yes, it can happen again.

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The Wolf Pack baseball team’s season is just nine games old (the Pack is 4-5) but we’ve already learned it’s either feast or famine with the offense. The Pack has averaged 11.5 runs a game in its four wins and just 2.5 runs a game in its five losses. Offense was the biggest concern with this team heading into the season and nothing has changed two weeks into the year. Second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni (.519 average) and catcher Justin Hazard (.333) have been great additions so far but the Pack did lose the guts of its offense from last year’s 41-15 team (Cal Stevenson, Kewby Meyer, Austin Byler, Ryan Howell, Jordan Devencenzi, Kyle Hunt). That’s a lot of production to replace in one year.

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Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn were all picked ahead of Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA draft. The Golden State Warriors wouldn’t take all six of those guys in a deal for Curry right now. Curry is putting together arguably one of the best seasons in NBA history. Heading into Thursday he was averaging 30.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.1 steals. His team is going to set the NBA record for wins in a season and finish the year by winning its second consecutive championship. If you’re picking an all-time NBA starting five and if Curry isn’t one of your guards you’re just as big of an idiot as the teams who picked ahead of the Warriors in the 2009 NBA draft.

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The San Francisco Giants’ injury problems just won’t seem to go away. Hunter Pence is already battling a sore Achilles and Matt Cain has had a cyst removed from his arm. And it’s only the first week of March. It’s nothing to be alarmed about yet — the Los Angeles Dodgers just lost pitcher Brett Anderson with a back injury for maybe the entire season — but once the Giants’ injuries start they seem to snowball. If this Giants team stays relatively healthy they should win the division by 10 games. A few injuries to the wrong people and, well, the Arizona Diamondbacks might sneak in and steal the division.

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Terrell Owens is sixth in NFL history with 1,078 catches, second in receiving yards with 15,934 and third in receiving touchdowns with 153. Marvin Harrison is third in catches (1,102), seventh in yards (14,580) and fifth in touchdowns (128). They are both Hall of Famers. But Harrison got into the Hall and Owens didn’t because he danced on the Dallas Cowboys star and celebrated a touchdown by signing a football with a Sharpie. It’s still baffling a month later. Baseball always gets criticized for its Hall of Fame decisions but the NFL is just as messed up. If a controversial figure like Dennis Rodman can get into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, Owens deserves the same honor from his sport.

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What, exactly, is Peyton Manning waiting for? Why hasn’t he retired yet? It can’t be because he still thinks he can play another year, can it? Did he watch game film last year? Manning is arguably the worst starting quarterback in the NFL right now. And don’t talk to me about the Super Bowl. He did nothing to win that Super Bowl. Crediting Manning for that Super Bowl win is like crediting Will Perdue for the Chicago Bulls’ first Three-peat. It’s time for Manning to go sell pizza, drink Budweiser and take over the Indianapolis Colts or Tennessee Titans front office.