James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolf of Virginia Street ~ The Next Chapter

It's a decidedly familiar feeling of hope surrounded by fear as another season of Nevada basketball comes to a close.

The Bullet Points

  • The Pack’s return to the NCAA Tournament was unfortunately short-lived, as they were bounced 84-73 by Iowa State late Thursday night. Nevada fell behind, came back, fell behind again, came back again and eventually got left behind by the deeper and more experienced Cyclones. Shooting a higher percentage and holding a decisive edge in rebounds, Iowa State answered everything the Pack could muster in a game that ended a season that still pleased a great many Wolf Pack fans.

  • While Thursday’s loss put many of the program’s current limitations on display — the main ones being its lack of depth and lack of NCAA Tournament experience — the fact is that this season was still an unquestionable success. And if you encounter any Rebel fans snickering at the Pack’s quick exit from the tournament, feel free to ask them what the spread would’ve been if UNLV had taken their place. It sounds trite now, but even an NIT appearance would’ve been considered an upgrade over last season. In fact, there were long stretches of conference play where that looked exactly like what Nevada deserved. But not only did the Pack do better than that, they did something that no Wolf Pack team of the last ten-plus years had done: win a conference tournament and earn their Dancing shoes. Their time in the Dance was brief, but it’ll be built upon further. Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

  • Now the more uncomfortable questions of the offseason must be addressed, like potential transfers, and that small matter of our head coach being highly sought after by other programs. And while Muss is still in town as of the time this column is being published, it seems like every job opening around the country has something for Pack fans to be afraid of. It’s only natural for us to think as highly of him as we do. It was barely 24 months ago that Nevada was coming off of a 9-win season, another defeat at the hands of Hotel Management Tech, and another first-round exit from the Mountain West Tournament. Who wouldn’t be impressed with a turnaround that quick? Lots of people, it turns out. At least, not yet. Eric Musselman is known in the coaching world, and people outside Nevada will continue to follow him with great interest. But there’s still a lot for him to prove here, like building up a deeper roster that’s not so heavily dependent on transfers. Or making a run in a postseason tournament that doesn’t include a trophy for the runners-up. We know that, if given the time, Muss is capable of doing these things, and much more. But until more athletic directors are convinced, my hunch is that we’ve still got him to enjoy for ourselves. And if any Rebel fans try to tell you that Dave Rice would instantly be hired in the event Muss leaves, just tell them this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n5E7feJHw0

The Beer

Ommegang Soothsayer Belgian-style Dark Ale (Cooperstown, New York) ~ What have I been for you this season if not a soothsayer, calming your worries with a hopeful gaze into the future? I found this little beauty on a jaunt down to Greensboro, North Carolina this week, at a Bestway, of all places. Imagine your friendly neighborhood grocery store if the biggest beer geek you know had a whole wall of the place — and a few shelving units — to themselves. I’ve never seen this beer back in our neck of the woods, so I had to give it a try. It poured blackish brown with a nice-sized tan head, and smelled of dark fruits, brown sugar and alcoholic booziness. Those same fruits (think cherries, grapes and prunes) controlled the taste, along with candi sugar, hints of molasses and chocolate, and light boozy warmth. The Belgian yeast-iness so prominent in other Ommegang beers was surprisingly subtle, and it finished sweet. That subtlety is the only real criticism I have. I really enjoy Ommegang’s takes on classic Belgian styles, and those spices that pop up in their other beers were nowhere to be found here. I realize that was by design for Soothsayer, but personally, it didn’t quite work for me. Not bad by any stretch, but also not my favorite from them. I give it three and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.

All fan mail (burning or otherwise) can be sent to:

Andrew Maurins

c/o North RV Lot

Campus of THE University of Nevada

Reno, NV 89557


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