The Bullet Points
- Every now and then, I have a chance to attend one of the pre-game dinners put on by the athletic department at Legacy Hall leading up to a basketball game. There’s a catered meal with prime rib from Pinnochio’s, I get to spend more time with the people we’ve shared the same section of Lawlor with for many years, a great time is always had by all, etcetera etcetera. During the last pre-game dinner for the NSU game, Doug Knuth was telling the crowd about the record-high GPA of Nevada’s student athletes this year, justifiably boasting like a proud father on report card day. He then brought up two students to speak to the crowd, one of whom was Don Jackson, the football team’s senior-to-be running back. He mentioned how thankful he’s been for the opportunities he’s received at Nevada and talked about his rough upbringing in south Sacramento. He revealed he just earned his undergraduate degree, and said he was about to begin his Master’s program at Nevada, which he hopes to complete some time after his football days are over. Be happy for Jackson, send him congratulations, if you wish, and remember how good it made you feel to read all of that before I transition to still more disappointment on the hardwood.
- Give Coach Carter this much: it can’t be easy not knowing where most of your team’s points and rebounds will be coming from on a typical night, much less when they’re short-handed and even shorter on confidence. The good things Nevada can count on every game are only twofold: A.J. West and Tyron Criswell. The bad things Nevada can count on every game are far more numerous: turnovers, poor shooting from the field, precious few three-pointers, a razor-thin margin of error, general inconsistency from the other players, a troubling lack of talent compared to the rest of the Mountain West, and something else going wrong that ultimately costs them yet another game. In Laramie against Wyoming it was rebounding, with the Cowboys winning the glass battle 34-24 and 12 of their rebounds coming on offense. It wasn’t a surprise, given Larry Nance Jr.’s prior history against Nevada, West’s two early fouls and the rest of his front court still playing without a crucial piece in Robyn Missa. More rebounds might’ve helped Nevada finally snap its losing streak, or at least kept this particular game closer. The team did enough other things well enough — shoot well from the field, make free throws and force turnovers — to bring them back within striking distance in the second half before once again collapsing down the stretch.
- That fragile, doe-eyed offense is now staring down a bear of a defense when San Diego State pays a visit tonight. From coaching to players to intangibles, the Aztecs have clear advantages across the board, and even with their own offensive struggles, a lot would still have to go right for Nevada just to cover the spread in this game. Barring a superhuman offensive effort not previously seen this year — or a team-wide bout of food poisoning at San Diego State’s hotel — there are literally no scenarios I can envision where Nevada wins this game. Aztecs 62, Wolf Pack 46.
Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA (Escondido, CA) — As you may have read a few weeks ago, I’m heading back to school this weekend, and this will be my last column for awhile. I might put out one or two more before the season ends, depending on how much class work I’m tasked with and whether the basketball team continues to drive me to increasingly violent acts of self-flagellation. But for all intents and purposes, this is likely it until the fall, and even that return is up to Neil and I (OK, Neil) to decide. It’s appropriate, then, that the final beer I review for the next few months is getting put on its own hiatus, albeit a much more permanent one. Due to poor sales, Stone is discontinuing this beer along with their highly underrated Levitation Amber Ale, and its color is fit for an occasion of mourning such as this. When poured, the black color is actually a teeny bit on the brown side, with a light head. The first smell is modest fruit and caramel, featuring tangerine, grapefruit and apple. The taste starts off with that orange and grapefruit, then transitions to the black malt and finishes with a light bitterness from the three different varietals of hops. And for a pretty robust IPA (8.7% ABV), the hops are surprisingly downplayed. The beer’s different flavors balance out fairly well, but I was expecting a little bit more hoppiness. The whole thing is a strange kind of liquid identity crisis, something in between a dark ale and an IPA, not entirely sure which one it leans more towards. It’s an interesting experiment in hybrid brewing, and its current demise may rest at the hands of confused beer drinkers who weren’t sure what to make of it. Give it a try, if you can, and make a space in your fridge for the next frankenbeer that comes along from Stone. I give it three and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.
Sausage Factory Beef Tri-Tip BBQ Smoked Sausage (Carson City, NV) — You want cooked meats, Neil?! I got yer cooked meats RIGHT HERE!!! No more snide jokes in this part of the column — I finally went out and got myself some meat in a casing to review. And I thought this one was…OK. The tri-tip taste was kind of underwhelming and a distant second to the real thing, but I’d eat it again. So…yeah. Bye! (Editor's Note: I'm weeping silent tears of joy right now.)
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