The Nevada Wolf Pack (23-6, 12-4) are making the trip to California to face off against the San Jose State Spartans (14-13, 7-9) on Wednesday night in the next to last game of the regular season.
Winners of four straight, the Wolf Pack sit just two wins away from clinching their first ever Mountain West regular season championship in basketball. But first, they must face a San Jose State team that they have beaten 16 out of the last 17 meetings and 26 of the last 28 meetings. However, at 14-13, the Spartans are an improved team this season and their seven conference wins are more than they have had in their first three seasons in the conference combined.
Given the continued improvement of the Spartans basketball team, don’t expect the Wolf Pack to look past them. “It’s another one of those road games we can’t underestimate our opponent”, said Wolf Pack senior guard DJ Fenner. “They’ve beaten teams we haven’t been able to beat this year. We have to come in and play hard.”
For the Wolf Pack to get the win on the road on Wednesday, they must stop the Spartans talented duo of Ryan Welange and Brandon Clarke. Welange is a 6-foot-9 forward who can shoot the three very well for the Spartans. He is shooting 35.5 percent from three this season while averaging close to 12 points per game this season. Clarke is the team’s best player as he leads the team in points (18 ppg) and rebounds (9 rpg) this season. When the Spartans have the ball, the Wolf Pack defense must contain these two for Nevada to succeed on the road.
The Wolf Pack must also use their athleticism on offense to attack the Spartans defense. Nevada has shot the ball well during their four-game winning streak and need to keep their hot shooting going. Also, the Wolf Pack must attack the rim against a Spartans defense that is vulnerable to offenses that are like Nevada’s that attack the rim and hit their three-point shots.
This is a game that Nevada cannot overlook despite it being very easy to do so with their showdown with Colorado State coming up on Saturday. The Spartans are an improved team that Nevada should not take lightly or otherwise they will find themselves on the losing end of this contest. But the Wolf Pack have been shooting the ball very well in their four-game winning streak and when their shots go in, they are hard to beat. I think they will continue their hot shooting in San Jose and get the win and keep pace with the Rams to set up the big matchup for the regular season title against Colorado State.
When: Wednesday: 7pm
Where: Events Center Arena in San Jose, California
Online: Campus Insiders