The Bullet Points
- Regardless of your personal thoughts on the College Basketball Invitational, the Wolf Pack have made this year’s tournament their own through three games. Both on the court and in the stands, the Pack have soundly imposed their will on opponents with strong second halves, highlight reels stuffed with great plays and enthusiastic fan support. Whether collecting 60 points from Criswell and Oliver against Eastern Washington or welcoming back Coleman from the bench with 20 points of his own against Vermont, someone different has stepped up in each of the Pack’s three victories in the last two weeks. Cameron Oliver, in particular, has used the CBI as a sort of coming out party, averaging 22.7 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in his last three games to go along with an equally strong showing in the Mountain West tournament.
- And thanks in part to that “next man up” spirit instilled by Eric Musselman, Nevada is now two wins away from its first postseason title of any kind. If they succeed, it will come with caveats — the tournament field was stacked in favor of home teams willing to pay for hosting fees, and none of its sixteen variously willing participants could pass an eyeball test of any definition of the word “elite.” But if you were to look at any of Nevada’s players on the sideline these last two weeks, you’d never guess any of that. As long as they’re here, they might as well keep the good times rolling, and I’m picking Nevada to do just that in beating Morehead State on Monday and Wednesday. They’re the most athletic and hard to pin down of Nevada’s four CBI opponents, and they have two out of the three wins by visiting teams in this tournament so far. But call it a hunch when I predict Nevada will have a new (quasi-)championship banner to hoist up to the rafters next season.
- After their Tuesday game at Pacific was postponed, Nevada baseball went down to Las Vegas and swept %%MATCH_6%% in dramatic fashion. Three times the Pack went in to the final three innings without a lead, and three times the Pack emerged victorious to the tune of 7-5, 6-5 and 7-4. Some of those ninth inning dramatics included three runs to win the first game and relinquishing a four-run lead before persevering in the eleventh inning of game two. Runners were stranded and pitching struggled in all three games, but enough plays were made at crucial times to deliver the team’s first sweep of the season and eighth win in their last nine tries against the Rebels. Coming up next is a Tuesday game at UC Davis before a home series with defending tournament champs San Diego State.
- Wolf Pack softball sits alone atop the Mountain West standings after a three-home-game sweep of Boise State over the weekend. Much like their baseball counterparts, late-game heroics were the norm, as an extra-innings solo shot from Kwynn Warner won the first game 4-3, a three-run final inning won the second game 11-10, and a new career high ten strikeouts from freshman pitcher Brooke Bolinger completed the sweep 5-2. While the Broncos were the only team picked to finish below Nevada in the preseason coaches poll, a sweep is still a sweep. Next on deck for the team is a midweek series at San Diego State before returning home for another series against New Mexico.
- I’ll end this week’s column with a plug for the Nevada Young Alumni Chapter, a terrific group I’ve been personally involved with for many years. Our biggest annual event, Beer Fest, is this Friday, April 1st (yes, really) at the Downtown Reno Ballroom, and we’d love to have you there. It’s a chance to sample dozens of beers from area breweries, dance, win fabulous raffle prizes, and contribute to undergraduate and graduate scholarships at the University. General admission at 7:00 pm is $30, and tickets for early entry at 6:00 pm are $45. If you’re already a member of the chapter, tickets are only $15, and if you aren’t, you can still sign up (provided you’ve graduated from Nevada in the last ten years) and purchase a ticket on our web site for less than a standard general admission ticket. Raffle tickets can be purchased at additional cost from any of the Nevada cheerleaders who will also be in attendance. Entry comes with your own free pint glass, and as much beer as you can (safely and responsibly) imbibe.
IMBIB Chericot Berliner Weisse (Reno, Nevada) ~ Speaking of that word, IMBIB is unique among local breweries in that their beers frequently don’t appear on their tap list more than once, and they invite their customers to take part in the brewing process. For a monthly fee, drinkers can join their Collaborator Club and vote on what style of beer they make next, as well as enjoy access to exclusive brews not available to the public and discounted pours of all of their offerings. A recent stop at their tap room on 2nd Street had me trying this one-off sour creation, its style named after the region of northern Germany where it originated. It poured a clear, light orange with minimal head owing to its being aged in a wine barrel, and its smells were of cherries, apricots (hence the name) and white wine (I didn’t think to ask what kind). Those fruits persisted in the taste, along with the style’s characteristic tart sourness and more wine notes. Its alcohol content wasn’t listed, but I’m guessing it was somewhere on the lower end of the spectrum. Sour beers are likely an acquired taste for many, but if it’s not your thing, they have lots of offerings in plenty of other styles (I love their oatmeal stout, which was on nitro when I came in). Personally, I liked it well enough, and coming from a guy who doesn’t like cherries or apricots on their own, that counts for something. I give it three and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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