The Nevada Wolf Pack return home and look to snap out of its funk against the Colorado State Rams Tuesday on short rest.
The Pack, who will have played four games in a week-long span after Tuesday, have lost five straight conference games for the first time since 2014-15. The first of the aforementioned skid came in Fort Collins to the Rams on Jan. 25, when they lost by 11 after scoring just three points in the final six minutes.
It’s been no secret that Nevada, who ranks No. 140 in the NET rankings, has struggled to capture wins against superior foes throughout the season, boasting a 1-11 record in Quad 1 or 2 games.
Colorado State, on the other hand, is one of the six Mountain West programs that rank inside the top-60 of the NET Rankings. Can Nevada knock them down a few slots with an upset victory? Let’s dive into the matchup and find out!
Matchup: Nevada (9-12, 3-7) vs. Colorado State (17-3, 7-3)
When: Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 1:00 p.m. PT
Where: Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.
TV/Online: CBS Sports Network || www.cbssports.com/cbs-sports-network/
Spread: Colorado State -6.5
Money line: Colorado State -260, Nevada +220
Last Meeting: Colorado State won 77-66 (Jan. 25, 2022)
Matchup History: Colorado State leads 16-11
The Rams are spearheaded by two dynamic on-ball threats in David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens.
Roddy, in contention for Mountain West player of the year, has posted 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest, shooting 56.6 percent from the floor, 47.5 percent (!) from 3-point range on moderately low volume (3.1 attempts). He also boasts a conference-best 62.6 effective field goal percentage and the MWC’s fourth-best true-shooting percentage at 64.6 percent.
Isaiah Stevens is the team’s conductor of the offense, posting a team-most 5.0 assists along with 15.7 points per contest. He is knocking down 47.5 percent of his attempts, including a 37.5 percent of his 3s and a conference-best 87.7 free-throw percentage.
John Tonje rounds out Colorado State’s double figure scoring, posting 10.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game on a sensational 66.6 percent true shooting.
Colorado State was shorthanded in the two’s first meeting of the season, missing Tonje and Adam Thistlewood both due to injury. This time around, it’s the other foe dealing with injuries.
Nevada’s been without both Grant Sherfield (foot infection) and Warren Washington (hand) — two of its top players — for three consecutive games (Note: Washington has missed four straight after injuring multiple fingers in his shooting hand six minutes into its Jan. 25 meeting versus Colorado State).
Nevertheless, the Pack could potentially be without two of their key cogs once again.
Sherfield places in the top-10 in the Mountain West in both points (18.3 ppg) and assists (6.2 apg), possessing the primary shot-creation burden that engines the Wolf Pack offense. In his absence, that responsibility has gone to Kenan Blackshear.
Blackshear is tallying 8.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season, but is coming off a 10 point-six assist outing against Fresno State and is posting 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 44.3/39.3/76.2 shooting over his last eight games.
Washington, one of the best shot blockers in the Mountain West, is averaging 10.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. His 7-foot cohort Will Baker has done a good job holding down the fort in Washington’s absence.
Baker’s averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 boards on 53.4 percent shooting (40.8% 3PT) in 22.5 minutes per game; over his last five games, he’s seen a slight uptick in scoring (12.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg) with middling shooting efficiency.
Desmond Cambridge has been the Pack’s most potent scorer over this recent stretch, averaging 16.6 points on 34.1 percent shooting from deep over his last five games and 15.6 points in 2021-22 in total.
Despite missing Washington for the better part of the game’s opening 34 minutes of their first meeting, Nevada hung around with the Rams before the jenga puzzle fell apart down the stretch. While it’s certainly undergone struggles, Nevada’s offense has looked more coherent over its last two games — including against arguably the best defensive in the nation in San Diego State. Though it hasn’t gone up an elite offense over this recent three-game sample. The Rams are an elite offense, though they have taken a step back since conference play. But nevertheless, if the Pack are without Washington — who defended Roddy a good amount before his injury — and Sherfield, the Pack will still have to sustain their two-way play they showcased against San Diego State if they want to snap their five-game skid. Colorado State 69, Nevada 62 (Season record: 15-6)