Chattanooga and Morehead State both traveled to Reno to play the Wolf Pack as part of the Las Vegas Invitational. What does the fancy title of "Invitational" mean? Pretty much nothing. The games Nevada have played and will play just add up to four nonconference games.
had to be saved by a clutch shot against Chattanooga to win 83-81, but there was no such shot to be made in a back and forth battle that resulted in a 63-58 loss to Morehead State. Lets take a quick look at five things we learned about this year's team from the first two games of the Invitational.
If you didn't know this about Burton you have not made it out to your fair share of Nevada basketball games the last three years. In the game against Chattanooga with the team trailing by one with 2.4 seconds to go, Burton received the pass from the sideline look two dribbles and banked a three for the win. Everyone in the gym knew who was taking the shot and he still got open and hit the game winner. Fans will recall clutch shots against the likes of Washington
and Green Bay in years past. This kid is the real deal. I would like to see Burton be more aggressive and take 18+ shots a night. He is already averaging 25.6 ppg whilst shooting 51.3% from the field, but I wouldn't mind him being a bit more selfish.
I had high hopes that Coleman would make the jump from his freshman to sophomore year and become a great back up point guard to Burton this year, allowing Burton to play some shooting guard. After this weekend, I don't feel comfortable having Coleman dribbling the ball. More than half the time he looks off balance and out of control. Against Morehead State he turned the ball over 8 times in only 19 minutes and against Chattanooga 3 times in 17 minutes with only 1 assist in those games combined! Maybe Coleman is better off the ball? Then again his jump shot is not that pretty. With all that being said, he has a lot of potential and can still be a force.
No disrespect to Ali Fall and Ronnie Stevens
Jr. but Nevada's best interior players are currently not playing. Stevens has been better than Fall this year but not by much, and both players are hustle type players at best. Brown, out due to a medical issue, would be a nice addition to the team for offensive purposes, while West, out for NCAA eligibility reasons, would be great for interior defense and shot blocking. The Wolf Pack allowed the Morehead State center to get 16 rebounds on Sunday. That's inexcusable. Stevens' and Fall's 6'9" 240 pound bodies are getting bullied around by the bigger competition where as Brown's 6'11" 270 pound body would hold up much better, especially once the team reaches the MWC schedule.
- Jerry Evans Jr. is the most important player other than Burton.
If Evans plays efficiently the team seems to play efficiently. If Evans struggles it affects the whole team. On any given night Evans could be the best shooter on the floor and the best defender on the court. The next night though Evans could be the worst shooter on the floor and get into foul trouble. Look at Evans' lines from the two games this weekend. Loss to Morehead State: 2-8 from the field, 11 points, 7 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 4 fouls. Win vs. Chattanooga: 4-7 from the field, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal, 2 fouls. It's about efficiency for the team and it starts with Evans.
- This could (AND SHOULD?) be David Carter's final season.
An athletic director that did not hire you. An inability to recruit bigs. An inability to find an offense to fit your team. Getting beaten by teams you should beat. A restless fan base. Not good signs if you're head coach David Carter. Should Carter be axed? It might depend on the buyout. If Carter cannot turn this team around in time for MWC play and finish in the top half of the league I think it might be time for the program to move on. Carter has been in Reno under former head coaches Trent Johnson
and Mark Fox
and Carter simply has not had the success fans started to expect after the successful reigns of Johnson and Fox.