With an armful of Mountain West Conference awards and the regular season conference title in hand, the Wolf Pack men's basketball team is setting its sights on earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
The Wolf Pack, seeded No. 1, opens play in the Mountain West Conference Tournament Thursday at noon at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas against UNLV. The men's semifinals are Friday with the championship on Saturday. A conference tournament championship guarantees the Wolf Pack a berth in the NCAA Tournament, though many experts believe the 22nd-ranked Wolf Pack's body of work thus far - a 26-6 overall record, a 15-3 Mountain West record, and one of the nation's finest RPI's - already has them in the field of 68 teams.
Nevertheless, the Wolf Pack isn't planning on resting on the laurels of one of the most successful seasons in school history. This week it was announced that the Wolf Pack had won four of the Mountain West's six individual awards in Player of the Year Caleb Martin, Coach of the Year Eric Musselman, Defensive Player of the Year Cody Martin and Newcomer of the Year Caleb Martin. In addition, the Pack had four players earn All-Mountain West Conference honors. Caleb Martin, a junior forward, and Jordan Caroline, a junior forward, were named to the league's First Team, Cody Martin, a junior forward, was named Second Team, Kendall Stephens, a senior guard, was on the Third Team and junior guard Lindsey Drew, who was lost for the season last month with a torn Achilles, was named to the All-Defensive Team.
The Wolf Pack women were also making a push for a first-ever NCAA berth. The Nevada women won consecutive overtime games as the Mountain West Women's Tournament kicked off this week, and then knocked off No. 3 Wyoming in the semifinals on Thursday night, 67-63, to advance to the program's first-ever Mountain West Conference Tournament championship game. The seventh-seeded Wolf Pack will meet No. 1 Boise State at noon on Friday.
In Thursday's win over Wyoming, senior guard T Moe led the way with 17 points while senior forward Teige Zeller added 16 points. Nevada is 17-15 overall.
The seventh-seeded Wolf Pack knocked off San Diego State in overtime on Monday, 95-84, then beat second-seeded UNLV in double overtime on Tuesday night, 77-73, behind Moe's 22 points, including 12 points in overtime. It was the first time in program history that the Wolf Pack has beaten their southern rivals in Las Vegas.
Moe is just the 13th player in program history to score more than 1,000 career points. Zeller, a senior forward averaging 14 points per game, was earlier named an All-Mountain West Conference performer.
The women's games in the tournament can be watched online on the Mountain West Network, available via NevadaWolfPack.com. Audio broadcasts, with play-by-play announcer John Ramey on the call, will be on in Northern Nevada on NBC Sports Radio 94.1 FM and 1450 AM, and around the world at NevadaWolfPack.com/audio. Ramey will have the men's tournament games live on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM in Northern Nevada and the games will also be available at NevadaWolfPack.com/audio. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be broadcast on national television on CBS Sports Network with the title game on Saturday slated for network broadcast on CBS.