The Bullet Points
- Ten years to the day on which a whole generation of Wolf Pack fans discovered an irrational hatred of bears, Nevada exacted a tiny, tiny measure of revenge against those no good pic-a-nic basket thieves. True, they had already played Montana two other times since then, and the Pack won both of those games, but we can’t let facts get in the way of our revenge therapy now, can we? Especially when it began to unfold in much the same way as that fateful first round game in Salt Lake City, with the Grizzlies shooting the lights out and heading into the locker room with a comfortable lead. That lead grew to as much as 13, and while D.J. Fenner helped Nevada claw back into the game by finding his lost groove, they still couldn’t quite get over the hump. Enter Lindsey Drew, who found a groove he may not have known he even had, making all manner of big plays to help put the team over the edge, and finishing with a stat line of 16 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, a steal and no turnovers. The crowd was sent home happy, and will get at least one more chance to watch them play tomorrow night against Eastern Washington.
- So far, Nevada’s experience in this CBI has turned out to be exactly what they need going forward: a chance for a team with no postseason experience to acquire some, and a chance for a community embracing the program again to see them play a few more times. It’s not going to be where the team sets their sights next year, and that’s OK. As long as there are teams in similar positions each season, the CBI will have a field. Boise State and New Mexico both turned down opportunities to join, and that makes sense for them. They’re more accustomed to postseason play of late, and have much less to gain from the experience than Nevada does. The CBI has the vibe of a “rehab” tournament: not something you’ll brag about years from now or even remember in great detail, but a place where teams on the mend can see how they stack up against each other with relatively low stakes. And Nevada has a real chance to make this tournament their own, with the team finally returning to something resembling full strength soon, and the home attendance at Wednesday’s game bigger than the 22 other games encompassing this year’s first round matches and all of last year’s tournament. That’s not a typo: for all the criticism we hurl at fans in northern Nevada, they turned out with the biggest home crowd the CBI has seen in the last two seasons. And tomorrow night’s game will likely be even bigger, so kudos to you, Pack fans! A tournament like this one is what you make of it, and we’ve decided to make it something fun and productive.
- Nevada baseball bounced back with a home series win against St. John’s on Friday and Saturday, dominating the first game 12-1 before methodically controlling the second game 5-1. After 18 completed games, the Wolf Pack’s best hitters are both newcomers, with Miles Mastrobuoni (.417 and 12 RBI) and T.J. Friedl (.388 and 26 hits) leading the way. Equally surprising to see is Trenton Brooks at the bottom of the offensive stats, hitting just .154 on 8 of 52 plate appearances. His pitching hasn’t been much better, with an ERA of 6.60 in his three starts so far. Send some of that CBI juju his way when Nevada wraps up its current series this afternoon before hitting the road for one tilt at Pacific and a three-game series at UNLV.
- I wish I was more knowledgeable about collegiate swimming and diving, because what Nevada continues to do in the pool is nothing short of extraordinary. Sophomore diver Sharae Zheng won two national titles in two days in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events at the NCAA Championships last week, becoming only the third Wolf Pack athlete ever to win multiple national titles. Even more astounding is the fact that Zheng has only been on campus for just over two months. She’s like the Cam Newton of diving, you guys! Football may still be a work in progress, and basketball isn’t quite back to its former stellar self, but if you’ve got a pool with diving boards, Nevada will swim and dive the HELL out of you.
Knee Deep Hoptologist Double IPA (Auburn, California) ~ I’m of two minds when it comes to IPAs. On one hand, there’s much more to the world of craft beer than the multitude of dank hop bombs jockeying for attention would have you believe. Heck, San Diego alone has several breweries that seem to churn out nothing BUT India pale ales (lookin' at you, Green Flash). But on the other hand, many of those same beers are objectively good, and frequently even great. Thankfully, Hoptologist is one of the latter, hailing from just over the summit in Auburn after having started in northern Nevada in 2010. It poured light red-orange with a humongous white head out of the bottle I bought, and it took awhile (and several sips) for it to dissipate. Citrus and pine where the main smells, and those continued into the taste, along with a malt blend and some grapefruit zest. The mouthfeel is, for lack of a better word, sticky, but finished dry, and felt very smooth in spite of its alcohol content (9%). For a double IPA, it’s actually not as bitter as you might think, and the whole thing is nice for slow sipping. I give it four tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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