The Bullet Points
- In games against the middle and bottom of this year’s Mountain West, Nevada has been supremely adequate, even exceptional at times. But when their attention turns to the top teams in the league — even with their better play of late — the story has usually been “Close, but no cigar.” Such was the case on Tuesday, when Nevada put a scare in to San Diego State, but let a late lead wither and eventually disappear, like has happened to so many of the Aztecs’ opponents. Not unlike the suddenly smaller crowd, the things that worked in Nevada’s favor in previous games — rebounding, ball control, big shots and good ol’ fashioned heart — weren’t quite there in the quantities necessary to spring the upset. It was another “wait ’till next year” kinda game similar to their other home loss to Boise State, and while SDSU didn’t blow anyone away like a first place team should, their poise down the stretch nonetheless showed why they’re still the team to beat in this league.
- With that disappointment fresh in their minds and a whole litany of potential excuses quickly lining up, it would’ve been easy for the Pack to, well, pack it in when they finally arrived in Logan early Saturday morning. As if their two prior wins at the Smith Spectrum in seven (often gut-wrenching) tries weren’t enough, the weather gods decided they really didn’t like Nevada this week, and had their connecting flight en route to the game canceled. Luckily, a shuttle from the Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club was procured on short notice to complete a fitting metaphor of the entire Nevada athletic department: cobbled together from second-hand parts, but still trucking on and surprising people. And surprise the Wolf Pack did, posting their best offensive half of the season while building a 14-point halftime lead, then spending most of the second half giving it back, then finally retaking it to hang on for a 5-point win over the Aggies. The Cardiac Pack struck again, and that horrendous loss at Fresno State is looking more and more like a turning point for this team.
- Consistency was lacking in last week’s games, with Tuesday’s loss at least accompanying Nevada’s best defensive performance of conference play, and Saturday’s win coming in spite of yielding 84 points and coughing up a huge second half lead. But the improvement in overall play was still evident, and Musselman’s coaching up of his team was on display in some of the most important moments. In a five-game stretch that had the potential to make or break this transitional season of Wolf Pack basketball, Nevada went 3-2, and now they can rest up for the next week before hitting the road again at Colorado State. Maybe a 14-hour bus ride to Fort Collins is in order to keep the good times rolling? Maybe put some of those micro-donations from Strengthen The Pack towards a nice, pimped out tour bus with flat screens and PlayStations. And a wet bar for yours truly. We can call it Lawlor On Wheels. Someone up on the hill please make this happen. You’re welcome.
- To the surprise of no one who’s been following Nevada athletics, Doug Knuth is being mentioned as a potential athletic director candidate at Connecticut, his alma mater. In his time at Nevada so far, Knuth has made slam dunk hires for women’s golf, baseball, volleyball, men’s tennis, swimming and diving and men’s basketball, breathing life into formerly moribund programs in nearly all of those cases. Getting long-overdue facilities improvements on track and a notoriously under-funded athletic department to operate in the black — even turning profits on its football team's bowl appearances — are minor miracles, too. And the good work his student-athletes have done in the classroom deserves recognition as well. In short, he’s definitely a good enough candidate to at least warrant an interview. But Connecticut’s next athletic director will be tasked primarily with getting the Huskies out of the Conference Formerly Known As The Big East and back into a power conference. And that’s a miracle few people anywhere would be able to facilitate.
- File this one under “Conflict Of Interest So Incredibly Obvious You Kind Of Have To Admire Its Audacity.” The Las Vegas Review Journal published an “editorial” calling a proposed $1.2 billion domed stadium on UNLV’s campus — with an estimated two thirds of its cost coming from the public — an “urgent need.” The LVRJ is owned by casino magnate and real-life robber baron Sheldon Adelson, who would stand to benefit immensely from the project. I’m going to spend the next few minutes banging my head against a wall before hopping on board the next spaceship bound for Mars. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.
Track Seven Inveigle Belgian-style Blonde Ale (Sacramento, California) ~ I’m not a strict believer in drinking certain beer styles just because of what day a calendar says it is. Why should I have to wait for fall or winter to enjoy a nice imperial stout? And if a friend happens to home brew a nice Oktoberfest in their garage, why should I pass on it just because it’s spring? With all of that said, the freshness of a beer is still a big factor in how and when it can best be enjoyed, and this one was bottled back in July. However, all things considered, it still wasn’t bad. Inveigle (meaning “to persuade someone to do something by means of flattery”) poured a cloudy, bright yellow with a massive head that took a long time to thin out. Seriously, you’d never guess the bottling date of this beer just by looking at its head. That effervescence was present throughout the entire glass, and paired with a lemon scent. The taste started with that same lemon zest, followed by light Sorachi ace hops, a little pilsner malt and Belgian yeast, then finished crisp and dry. The closest food comparison I can make would be a slice of lemon meringue pie. Along with all of that foam, the whole thing was a teeny bit too sweet for me. Give it a try as a dessert beer, but make sure it’s fresh and beware the head. I give it three tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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