Wolf Pack’s bowl status on hold | NevadaAppeal.com

Wolf Pack’s bowl status on hold

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Nevada’s bowl status is on hold for another several days, according to Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson.

“The only thing we’re reporting is that the committee did meet earlier in the day (Monday) and elected to delay any decision until Sunday, pending the outcome of the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) selections,” Benson said during a telephone interview from his Colorado office.

The BCS is expected to know late Saturday night or Sunday morning who will fill the eight BCS spots.

Nevada, 8-3, seems a lock to play in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl on Dec. 24. However, the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit also has expressed an interest in the Wolf Pack. Another remote possibility is the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22.

Benson said Las Vegas Bowl officials asked that the WAC wait until this week before making a decision. The Las Vegas Bowl is a Pac-10-Mountain West Conference game, and if Oregon is selected to play in a BCS game (Fiesta Bowl), no doubt Nevada would go to Las Vegas. If that happens, Benson said Louisiana Tech would be extended an invitation to the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl.

Oregon is currently ranked seventh in the BCS, sandwiched between sixth-place Ohio State and eighth-place Notre Dame. The Irish, despite the fact they are ranked lower than Ohio State and Oregon, seem to be a lock to get a Fiesta Bowl bid, if for no other reason, they are a great national draw.

“There is no criteria (for at-large),” Benson said. “It’s whether the Pac-10 can put enough pressure on the Fiesta Bowl to take a Pac-10 team instead. The Pac-10 is saying that the Fiesta Bowl is obligated to take a Pac-10 team instead of Ohio State.”

The Orange Bowl has an automatic tie-in with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Its second spot would be either a Big 10 team or an at-large. If the Orange Bowl elected to take Ohio State, Benson believes that Big Ten champion Penn State would go to the Fiesta Bowl to play Notre Dame.

One problem facing the BCS is that Big East champion West Virginia gets an automatic BCS bid. West Virginia is currently ranked 11th.

Louisiana Tech is bowl eligible and finishes its season this weekend. The Bulldogs will finish no worse than 6-5. Benson said there is more interest from Motor City officials about Nevada than Louisiana Tech, even though Louisiana Tech is geographically closer.

KEMP HONORED

Marcelus Kemp played a big role in No. 22 Nevada’s two big basketball road wins last week and his efforts earned him WAC Player of the Week honors. Kemp scored 24 points against Vermont and UNLV and averaged 4.5 rebounds per contest.

Against UNLV last Saturday, Kemp scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half. During one stretch of the second half, he scored 10 of Nevada’s 12 points. He drained two free throws late in the game to keep the Rebels at bay.

For the week, Kemp hit 17 of 26 field goal attempts, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range. He also knocked down 11 of 12 free throws.

Kemp credits hard work over the summer for his early success. He said after the UNLV game he wasn’t surprised with his early success.

Part of his success comes from teams sagging in on 6-foot-11 Nick Fazekas, thereby allowing Nevada’s offense a little more offense on the perimeter. Kemp has taken advantage of that, more than any other Nevada player.

NO HUGE SURPRISES

After two weeks of games, Nevada (3-0) and Fresno State (2-0) are the only undefeated teams in WAC men’s basketball.

San Jose State, under first-year coach George Nessman, has won three straight and is 3-1.

The Bulldogs, under first-year coach Steve Cleveland, are playing solid basketball. Fresno State overcame an 11-point deficit to knock off Oregon State 80-73. Ja’Vance Coleman, a preseason all-WAC selection, scored 24 points against the Beavers.

San Jose State’s schedule hasn’t been really rough. The Spartans lost their opener to Texas Tech, but rebounded with wins over Portland, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and San Diego. The Spartans go for their fourth straight win tonight at home against Santa Clara.

The WAC is 17-11 as a conference.

SENSLEY BLANKED

Julian Sensley was held scoreless for the first time in his Hawai’i career when UNLV knocked off the Rainbow Warriors in Las Vegas last week. UNLV’s Louis Amundson and Dustin Villepigue thwarted him inside.

Sensley did rebound to score 22 points in Hawai’i’s 84-62 win over Saint Louis on Saturday night.

KEY GAMES THIS WEEK

There are a few big games on tap this week, and two of them involve Nevada on the road. The Pack face perennial powerhouse Kansas Thursday in a game that will be shown on ESPN2, and then play at UOP Saturday in Stockton. Fresno State is playing at Iowa State on Saturday, while SJS faces Santa Clara (home) tonight, Cal (away) on Wednesday and UC Irvine, which knocked off Stanford, on Saturday (away). Louisiana Tech (2-2) hooks up with Alabama in a big road test.

n Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or (775) 881-1281