by Stone Harper
The losses keep piling up for Nevada and so does the frustration from the fans. After being defeated by UNLV and Wyoming, Nevada has lost six straight and currently holds a record of 6-14 (2-6 Mountain West). Head coach David Carter has done everything in his power to stop the bleeding, including changing the starting lineup multiple times, but to no avail.
Despite the turmoil, the Wolf Pack will have a chance to break its losing streak this week as it hosts San Diego State on Wednesday, before traveling south to take on San Jose State on Saturday.
CLIMBING ATOP THE MOUNTAIN
Snapping the losing skid will be difficult against the Aztecs. San Diego State has been a consistent force under the guidance of head coach Steve Fisher, one of the best coaches in college basketball. This season is no different for the Aztecs as it carries a 17-5 (7-2 MW) mark.
However, great coaching can only get you so far; a team has to have talent on the court to truly be elite. This year, the Aztecs are led by a two-headed attack in junior Winston Shepard and senior Aqeel Quinn. The dynamic duo is currently first and second on the team in scoring with Quinn averaging 11.2 points per game and Shepard averaging 10.3 points per game. Both players will be challenging opponents due to the inconsistency of Nevada’s guards.
However, if there is one silver lining for the Wolf Pack, it is the Aztecs’ poor road record. San Diego State is currently 17-0 at home, riding a 31-game home winning streak. However, away from the Viejas Arena in non-neutral sites, they are a meager 2-4. In order for Nevada to get a win it will need to neutralize its guards and get an electric home atmosphere.
MISERY LOVES COMPANY
If there is one team who has played as poorly as the Wolf Pack this year it might be San Jose State. The Spartans are 2-19 on the year and have lost the first nine conference games of the season. The Spartans have been overwhelmed all season and will all but certainly finish last in the conference for the second season in a row.
Although San Jose State is in the conference cellar, the Spartans still have plenty of talent on their roster. Look no further than sophomore guard Rashad Muhammad, who is the younger brother of NBA forward Shabazz Muhammad. The younger Muhammad is currently averaging a team-high 12.6 points per game. Muhammad is also efficient with his scoring, shooting over 40 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.
Another thing that will make Muhammad a difficult matchup will be his size. Muhammad stands 6-foot-6, which is significantly tall for a guard. Nevada does not have a guard on its roster that is taller than 6-foot-4, so the responsibility of guarding Muhammad will have to fall in the hands of 6-foot-6 forward D.J. Fenner.
This will be an intriguing test for Nevada and should show where the Wolf Pack ranks among the rest of the struggling teams in the MWC.
Stone Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.