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Nevada Basketball: Wolf Pack to host Vermont in CBI Semifinals

The Nevada Wolf Pack will face the Vermont Catamounts in the CBI semifinals for a chance to clinch a birth in the CBI Championship Game.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off their 85-70 victory over the Eastern Washington Eagles on Tuesday, the Wolf Pack will host the Vermont Catamounts in the CBI semifinals on Wednesday night at 7 pm. The winner of this game will face the winner of the Ohio-Morehead State game in the best-of-three CBI Championship series that will start on Monday.

For Nevada, the concern is that are they physically and mentally ready to play there second game in three days? Vermont will be in a similar position as Nevada is in but the Catamounts have a much deeper bench and can rotate players out. Meanwhile, Nevada have a thin bench and their two top players, Cameron Oliver and Tyron Criswell, played virtually the whole game against the Eagles on Monday. It is clear that Nevada's energy and depth will be put to the test on Wednesday.

Speaking of Cameron Oliver and Tyron Criswell, the Wolf Pack will need another strong performance from these two stellar players in order for the Wolf Pack to win. The team as a whole has gotten better on offense in this postseason but Criswell (32 points on Tuesday against EWU) and Oliver (28 points, 14 rebounds) are the key cogs that make the Nevada offense run smoothly and they need to continue their outstanding play to ensure a Wolf Pack victory.

Lastly, the Wolf Pack have to play defense for the entire game and avoid a slow start on that side of the ball. The Wolf Pack were sluggish on defense in their first two CBI games but picked up their defensive intensity and clamped down on Montana and Eastern Washington in the second half. Vermont is one of the best offensive teams in the country as they are ranked 13th in field goal shooting percentage at 48.6 and they also shoot 38 percent from the three-point line as well. The Wolf Pack must bring their defense early in the game against this talented Catamount offensive to avoid another deficit that they may not come back from.

The Wolf Pack will have their hands full with a Vermont team that is talented and disciplined on offense but the Catamounts struggle on defense and with Nevada's offense playing very well in the last two games, the Wolf Pack should take advantage of Vermont's suspect defense. With Nevada's improving offense and stifling defense, it should be enough for the Wolf Pack to get the win and advance to the CBI Championship series.