Mountain West notes: Nevada believes its bubble won’t burst
Simply put, the Nevada players and coaches feel they have done enough to make the NCAA tournament no matter what transpires at this week’s Mountain West Championship.
Nevada (26-6, 15-3) enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed for the second straight season. The Pack is ranked 22nd in the AP poll.
“For me, we’ve had an awesome regular season,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “We won a lot of road games and they said that was a big thing. We showed the willingness to go out (on the road) and play good teams. TCU, Texas Tech and we played the extra game in Hawaii.
“We haven’t gotten blown out (six losses by 27 points). I certainly think we’ve done enough, and we’re a ranked team. We’ve been ranked for several weeks. Having said that we are not in until I hear our name called on Sunday. I certainly feel we’ve done enough. You never know how Sunday is going to go. You want to win as many games as you can.”
Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline agreed.
“I think so,” Martin said. “I don’t like to leave it to chance.”
“In my opinion (we have), but I’m not on the committee,” Caroline said.
Jordan Caroline said Monday he has a fractured left pinkie finger.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Caroline said. “It’s just be my left pinkie. It actually happened at the UNLV game when I went to the basket on (Brandon) McCoy and fell on my hand.”
Musselman said he thought about holding Caroline out.
“Didn’t know if he could play,” Musselman said. “Jordan kept dropping balls. He told me it really hurts when I try to catch the ball. I thought about not playing him and he goes for 29.”
The Mountain West Championships get under way Wednesday with three games, all of which can be seen on Facebook.
The UNLV-Air Force game kicks off the schedule at 11 a.m. followed by the Utah State-Colorado State game at 1:30 p.m. The Wyoming-San Jose State 6-11 game is set for 4 p.m.
Nevada starts tournament action Thursday at noon against the UNLV-Air Force winner. If the Pack wins its opening game, it would return to action Friday at 6 p.m. The finals are set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
The games on Thursday and Friday are on CBS Sports Network. The title game is on CBS.
IN CASE YOU’RE WONDERING
The sites for first and second-round action are Boise, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Wichita, Dallas, Charlotte, Detroit and Nashville.
The four regional sites are Omaha, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Boston. The finals at are in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
NON CONFERENCE MARKS
The MW posted an 87-51 nonconference record this season, including a 1-5 record against Top-25 teams. That win was SDSU’s 72-70 win over Gonzaga.
UNLV turned in the best nonconference record at 11-2 and Boise State was a step back at 10-2. Nevada third at 11-3 and Fresno State was fourth at 10-3.
San Diego State senior guard Trey Kell has been named the MW Player of the week for his efforts against Boise State and Nevada.
Kell led the Aztecs to a 72-64 win over BSU and a 79-74 win over Nevada.
Kell averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals for the week. Against Nevada, he had a career-best nine assists and scored seven of SDSU’s final 10 points.
MW HONORS FOR PACK
The Mountain West Conference’s 11 head coaches voted on the All-MW teams, as well as the coach, player, newcomer, sixth man, freshman and defensive honors.
Nevada head coach Eric Musselman earned MW Coach of the Year honors, while Nevada’s Caleb Martin has been selected as MW Player and Newcomer of the Year. It’s the 11th time in the league’s history a school has boasted both the coach of the year and player of the year in the same season. Caleb Martin’s twin brother, Cody Martin, garnered MW Defensive Player of the Year honors, marking the first time in conference history the same team has swept Player, Defensive Player, Newcomer and Coach of the Year honors. UNLV forward Brandon McCoy has been recognized as MW Freshman of the Year, while Boise State’s Alex Hobbs was chosen as the MW Sixth Man of the Year.
Musselman led the Wolf Pack to 15 Mountain West victories and the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Nevada, which has won at least 24 games in all three seasons under Musselman, climbed as high as No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll this season. In Mountain West play, the Wolf Pack led the league, averaging 84.6 points per game and had the highest margin of victory at +9.8. Musselman becomes the first Wolf Pack head coach to capture MW Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year honors.