No. 22 Nevada continues road act
The Nevada Wolf Pack basketball team is fast becoming the road warriors of Division I basketball.
Nevada, ranked 22nd in the latest AP poll and 24th in the USA Today poll after an 8-0 start, is a perfect 4-0 on the road after victories at Santa Clara, Pacific, Hawaii and UC Irvine.
It’s the first time Nevada has been ranked in the top 25 since the 2006-07 season when it won its first seven en route to a 29-5 record.
Nevada tries to make it five straight away from home when it visits Texas Tech, 6-1, today at 5 p.m. at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.
This is the second leg of a three-game road swing. Nevada concludes the trip on Friday when it meets nationally ranked TCU at Staples Center (10 p.m.) as part of a tripleheader.
Nevada has taken on what is almost like an NBA schedule with games about every two or three days.
“I don’t think we can really control the rankings,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman had said after the double-digit win over UC Irvine. “We have handled business so far. Our players have said that it (being ranked in the top 25) was something they wanted.
“We just have to worry about the game in front of us, and I think we will do that. They have had a business-like approach every game, and Texas Tech is really, really good.”
The Red Raiders, in fact, were nationally ranked until they lost to Seton Hall by 10 in their last game, a neutral-site affair at Madison Square Garden.
“This is not a little challenge, this is a huge challenge,” Musselman said. “We’re playing a team on its home floor, and people will look at them as probably being you know the favorite and we’ll be more in the underdog (role).
“With the travel days (Sunday morning and Monday), we’re not going to have much time to prepare which is unfortunate, but it is what it is, and that is next on the schedule so we’ll do the best we can.”
Musselman noticed a little fatigue during Saturday’s win over UC Irvine.
Fortunately, the Pack was able to play through it, and thanks to the inside play of Jordan Caroline (24 points, 13 rebounds), the Pack was able to wipe out a 2-point halftime deficit and win by 11.
“Without him rebounding the ball (on Saturday) we lose by 10,” Musselman said. “He’s a great offensive rebounder and (against Irvine) he did a good job of defensive rebounding.”
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard is well aware of Caroline’s ability.
“He is a mismatch nightmare,” Beard told reporters after the loss to Seton Hall. “He is quicker than the big men and he’s stronger than the smaller guys (guards, small forwards).
“We don’t have one guy that can stop him. He is a good 1-on-1 player.”
Caroline has scored 20 or more points in the last two games, and he’s eclipsed the 20-point mark in four of the Pack’s eight games.
“There is a reason why they are an undefeated team, and there is a reason why they are in the top 25,” Beard said. “They have really good players and they are really well coached.
“They have won four road games. I’ve never really understood the mid-major thing. Nevada is not a mid-major team. Nevada is a team that could play in the Big 12, and they can beat anybody in the country.”