Coming off a dominating victory over San Jose State in the conference opener on Wednesday night, the Nevada Wolf Pack will travel to California’s Central Valley to face the Fresno State Bulldogs on Saturday. The Bulldogs come into this contest posting an 8-5 record but 0-1 in conference play as they lost on the road to New Mexico on Wednesday night.
This is the first meeting between Nevada and Fresno State since last season when the Wolf Pack won in overtime 77-72 against a Bulldogs team that was missing four of its frontcourt players due to injury. In the postgame press conference, Bulldogs head coach Rodney Terry said that Nevada gets “no credit” for the win. It looks like on the surface that Wolf Pack head coach Eric Musselman is not concerned about Terry’s postgame comments from last season’s game.
“No, we’re just worried about trying to beat them this year”, Musselman said this week. “We really don’t concern ourselves with anything other than what’s in our own locker room”.
The Wolf Pack must contend with a talented Fresno State front court of Karachi Edo (14 ppg, seven rpg), Paul Watson (13ppg, five rpg), Cullen Russo (10 ppg, six rpg), and Terrell Carter II (eight ppg). The battle between Fresno State’s front court and Nevada’s front court of Cameron Oliver (15 ppg, seven rpg) and Jordan Caroline (13ppg, nine rpg) will be excellent matchup to watch tonight.
For the Wolf Pack to get the win tonight, not only does the frontcourt must outperform the Bulldogs frontcourt but they must protect the ball. The Bulldogs are third in the Mountain West conference in forcing turnovers at 14 a game (interestingly enough, the Bulldogs give up the ball 14 times a game as well). If the Wolf Pack are to win they must force Fresno State into turning the ball over while not giving up the ball on the offensive end.
This game will be another closely contested game much like the one played last season in Reno. The game will feature two of the most talented front courts in the Mountain West but I think this game will be decided in the backcourt where I think the Wolf Pack have the edge due to the shooting talents of Marcus Marshall (20 ppg 45 percent FG). Marshall’s play will be the difference as the Wolf Pack come away with a close victory in Fresno.