With the win over Colorado State on Saturday, Nevada punched its first ticket to the Big Dance since 2007.
The bracket reveal figures to be an interesting experience for one of the trendiest mid-majors, who will enter the NCAA Tournament winners of nine consecutive games.
Here are five burning questions for Eric Musselman and his Wolf Pack on Selection Sunday:
What seed will Nevada receive?
It’s looking like a #12 seed for Nevada. The Wolf Pack is currently slotted as the third 12 seed on Bracket Matrix, and has been firm on the 12-line for the majority of the season. UNR’s resume is superior to Vermont, Princeton and East Tennessee State, potential 13 seeds that would hope to slip past Nevada. I don’t see it happening. Nevada is a fairly safe bet as a 12 seed.
How far away from home will Nevada travel?
This could get hairy. In my most recent bracket projections, the Wolf Pack was commonly slotted into an Orlando first weekend pod, typically opposing Florida or Florida State. This depends solely on where the 5 or 4 seeds want to travel, but all of the Pac-12 teams will be 3 seeds or higher, so Nevada won’t have the benefit of being placed in a Sacramento or Salt Lake City pod. Most likely scenario is the Wolf Pack has to make the trek to Orlando or Milwaukee, taking on a team that is just a handful of miles away. It’s essentially a road game for Nevada wherever it goes.
Who is Nevada’s best matchup?
I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself this question over the weeks and I still don’t know if I have a definitive answer. Nevada will receive a 12 or 13 seed, so this means the Wolf Pack will face off against a 4 or 5. That leaves about 10-12 teams that could potentially play the Pack. I like how it hypothetically matches up with Notre Dame. The Irish can stroke it from deep like Nevada, but its the frontcourt matchup that favors Nevada. Assuming Cameron Oliver is his normal self and Jordan Caroline plays as he has in the Mountain West tournament, this duo could eat Notre Dame’s V.J. Beachem and Bonzie Colson alive. The rebounding margin would clearly favor Nevada, mostly due to UND’s lack of size.
Who is Nevada’s worst matchup?
West Virginia. I do not like this matchup at all if I’m Nevada. The biggest knock on the Pack in terms of four factors (effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, rebounding percentage, free throw rate) is its inability to force turnovers. UNR is 318th in the country in opponent turnover percentage, while Press Virginia is #1. Nevada isn’t known to turn the ball over, but teams that get frustrated against WVa’s press rarely stand a chance.
How far can Nevada go in the NCAA Tournament?
I’m wondering the same thing. I’ve said it throughout the year: Nevada is most tournament-ready team in this conference. The Wolf Pack have athleticism, size, an elite offense and the best coach on the sidelines. What I like most about this squad is its ability to manufacture quick 8-0, 9-0, 10-0 scoring runs. On the flip side, Nevada struggled mightily in the second half shooting the basketball, as it did in the first half of its semifinal against Fresno State. This team is streaky, but usually on the good side of streaky. I like Nevada’s chances against a 5 seed, but as mentioned earlier, it depends so much on matchups.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air at 2:30pm PT on CBS.