WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chris Murray, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal, on Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.
Tip-off is at 4 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, and the game will be televised on Root Sports.
Follow on Twitter: @MurrayRGJ
At 6-13 overall, 2-5 in the Mountain West and losers of five straight, what has been the biggest issues for Nevada’s struggles of late and much of the season?
Offense. This team simply can’t score. Getting to 60 points is a big achievement. The Wolf Pack was ranked last in the nation in 3-point shooting for most of January, but has perked up a little there in recent games. The team struggles with turnovers and has missed a lot of point-blank shots, leaving little margin for error in order to get wins. The defense, a big strength in nonconference action, has slid in a major way in Mountain West play. So, in short, other than rebounding, Nevada doesn’t have a lot of strengths to draw from and usually linger around 35 percent shooting from the floor, which makes it tough to win at any level.
There have been some bad losses, but this team also started 2-0 in league play and has shown it can play good basketball. When it plays well, what does it do well?
Nevada has won six games, but two were against non-Division I teams, two were against D-I cupcakes (Marshall, Air Force) and two were against average — at best — teams (Cal Poly and UNLV). So, the Wolf Pack doesn’t really have any quality wins to this point in the season, although it usually plays within a couple baskets of every team it faces. The team’s biggest strength when playing well is center AJ West, who leads the nation in offensive rebounds and also is a high-level rim protector. When Nevada plays well, it’s getting stops and getting into transition quickly. The Wolf Pack has some good athletes and needs to score in transition because it’s half-court offense is so limited.