The Bullet Points
- All that talk of the Mountain West being Nevada’s to win seems premature, even hollow, after a truly inexplicable 74-57 loss at Utah State on Wednesday. Just about everything that could go wrong for the Pack did exactly that in what was far and away the team’s worst performance of the season. Marcus Marshall? Two points on 1 of 12 shooting. Rebounding? A 50 to 36 defeat at the hands of the league’s worst rebounding team. Offense? What offense? Season lows in seven (!!!) different categories. After an anemic first half that saw both teams limit each other to 25 points apiece, Nevada watched the Aggies’ lead snowball under the weight of continued offensive miscues and defensive lapses. And just like the last time this season they found themselves in this position, Nevada’s time all alone at the top was short-lived.
- To say I was angry with what I saw on Wednesday is…not accurate. Really, it isn’t. The better word, I think, is “confounded.” Perhaps even “mystified.” Where did this performance come from? Absolutely nothing we had seen in the previous two games could’ve led us to anticipate just how irredeemably heinous they would look in this one. The easiest answer for how it happened is prideful arrogance, a.k.a. "hubris," the result of buying into too much of their own hype too quickly. And for now, that’s the explanation the team seems to be going with. But even that can’t fully explain so many different things going as spectacularly sideways as what transpired. This wasn’t a great Utah State team or even a great Smith Spectrum crowd that inflicted this on the Pack. It was a perfect storm of drive-by horridness — a deeply, deeply confusing performance that came out of nowhere, aggressively infuriated fans, and faded back into the ether just as quickly.
- At least, for the team’s sake, they had better hope it fades back. After getting a whole week to let this abomination simmer (joy!), the team returns home for its first tango with UNLV before a jaunt down to San Diego State. Chief among the aftereffects of a lopsided loss is the insidious threat of doubt. Seeing a last-place team defile and humiliate you robs you of precious confidence. The worst thing that could happen to Nevada as it sifts through the wreckage of Wednesday night is to allow pernicious doubts to seep in and poison them for the rest of the season. I’m inclined to believe Nevada will do just that, catching UNLV in a post-loss buzzsaw of fury — you’ll be hearing a lot about Musselman’s 17-2 record in games following a loss this week. But I also had a similar level of confidence before the Utah State game. There’s that doubt.
Mother Earth Sin Tax Imperial Stout (Vista, California) ~ Connections to the next opponents are two-fold this week: sin for Sin City, and Mother Earth for San Diego. Also, I’m kind of a stout fiend. There’s just something about a heavy, dark, roasty stout that seeps into my brain and pours smiles onto it every time I drink one. If it looks and pours like motor oil, my stout bias kicks in. Sin Tax poured thick black with a light brown head, and smelled of roasted malts, vanilla and a little bit of peanuts. Those roasted malts continued into the taste, along with chocolate, peanut butter and a teeny bit of brown sugar before finishing with a light, not-quite-coffee bitterness. This is a solid stout with plenty to like about it, which is why its somewhat lighter body was a little disappointing. It’s not bad by any stretch — quite the opposite. But at this point, I’ve tried enough stouts that it doesn’t stand out quite as much as I had hoped it would. Peanut butter can be a great taste in a dark beer, but I’d recommend Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout or Track 7’s Nukin’ Futz Imperial Porter before this. Give all three of them a try, if you can. But in the mean time, I give this one three and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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