Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Letters From Lawlor-All Is Well In Pack Land

Pack fans, it’s been a great week and a half for Wolf Pack basketball. After the amazing (and still rather unbelievable) comeback at New Mexico, the Wyoming game wasn’t nearly as exciting. Although, honestly, the chances that any of us will ever see anything nearly as exciting as the New Mexico game are very, very low.

However, us Pack fans must appreciate what we have, which for now, is a nice, solid win at Wyoming.

  •  The Cons: With Josh Hall still out with an injury (although coming back this week), and Elijah Foster still suspended indefinitely, the Pack once again ran into the issue of not having a deep enough bench. While this didn’t impede the Pack too much during the Wyoming game, it was definitely felt. Cameron Oliver didn’t foul out until the very end of the game, but that didn’t help the situation. Mostly, the lack of a bench was evident in the beginning of the second half, where the Pack seemed to be sleeping though it. Even thought they had a week off, with over a 2,500 foot altitude difference, and only seven scholarship players, the Pack looked (and probably were) very tired. While we pulled away a few times, Wyoming seemed intent on staying in the game until the very end; an admiral feat, but something that may have been avoided if we had more back-up.

 I won’t beat a dead horse, and he had a phenomenal defense game, but the other big con of this game was Oliver’s inability to successfully score a lot of his three point attempts. And while his rebounding, along with Caroline’s, was great, I think the rest of the team needs to step up a little bit in that regard.

  •  The Pros: While I’m usually a little bit of a Negative Nelly, I’m finally coming around to joining the population of Reno that is stoked on this basketball team. I think a good amount of criticism is healthy, but I’ll be honest, this team has been amazing so far this season, and they were no different when they traveled to Wyoming on Saturday. And while one of the cons of this team is the lack of a bench, this can be slightly remedied with our selection of walk-ons; Carlson, Cunningham, and Tooley all saw playing time on Saturday, and we all know how important Tooley’s three point shot in New Mexico was. The other potential plus to having a limited bench? This team knows each other inside and out, which is clear in both their impressive passing and number of assists (I’m looking at you Lindsey Drew).

At this point, I could probably write an entire book on Jordan Caroline. I won’t (although, that’s something that I would gladly do). Anyway, it’s no secret that Jordan Caroline has been absolute beast this season, especially, but not limited to, the fantastic performance at New Mexico. The game at Wyoming was no different, with Caroline putting up 12 points and 15 rebounds, his eighth of the season, and third one in a row. Along with Caroline, Marcus Marshall continues to put on a dominating performance, scoring 32 points in Wyoming, and continuing his perfect streak of double-doubles this season. I’ve touched on Drew’s amazing rebounding and stealing skills, so I won’t this time. But while we’re talking about awesome players, DJ Fenner fought through an illness to score 15 points, and while Oliver didn’t have a great offensive game, his defensive game was beyond impressive. With two blocks, two steals, and 16 rebounds, Oliver was a force to be reckoned with.

  •  Next Up: Tonight the Pack take’s on Air Force with high hopes of remaining undefeated this season. And while Air Force did somehow beat Fresno last week, the rest of their season hasn’t been stellar. Air Force has gone 9-9, 2-3 in Mountain West play, and is 2-6 in their history against the Pack. Specifically, 0-4 away, 2-2 at home. The Pack will clearly have the upper hand in this game. However, Air Force is a very good three point shooting team, so it will be important that the Pack doesn’t underestimate them entirely. The game tips of at 7 p.m., and for those that can’t make it, it will be on ROOT Sports and KVOR AM 740

  • An Afterthought: While listening to the commentators at the New Mexico game, I noticed that they were speculating a lot about the possibility of Marcus Marshall going pro. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it does make sense, he is a great player with a very real understanding of the game. After the Wyoming game, I asked the world of Twitter if they thought Jordan Caroline has a chance at going pro. Some said yes, but not early, while others said he was too short. And, of course, we’re all aware that Oliver joined the draft last year, only to return back to college. So, I’m curious readers, what’re your thoughts on who might join the NBA eventually, and why? 

  • The Word on the Block:

“Does he settle a little too much on the jumper?” (On Oliver) “You can’t keep him quiet for long.” (On Marshall) “He’s only going to get better. (On Caroline) “If you rely on 3 point shooting, there are going to be nights where it just doesn’t go. You gotta find other ways to win.” “It’s the Marcus Marshall show in the second half.” “You don’t go very deep. You can’t go very deep.” (To Musselman on the depth of his bench.)

As always, tweet anything you hear at the game @hlncampbell

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