by Stone Harper
Nevada suffered two losses on the opposite end of the spectrum last week. Against Wyoming, the Wolf a Pack took a 13-point lead into halftime only to completely collapse in the second half. Nevada allowed the Cowboys to score 51 points and Wyoming walked away with a 64-58 victory. Nevada then went on the road to take on Boise State. The Wolf Pack did not lead at any time during the game and was taken down by the Broncos 78-46 in one of Nevada’s ugliest losses of the season. This week, Nevada will look to snap its two-game losing streak when it takes on two Mountain West Conference teams that are currently living in the cellar: San Jose State and Air Force.
BATTLE OF THE WORST
There may not be a team in NCAA Division I basketball worse than San Jose State. The Spartans are currently 2-24 and have not registered a single win against a Division I team. The Spartans are currently in the midst of a 16-game losing streak, which includes a 60-57 loss to Nevada two weeks ago.
Despite the team’s overwhelming shortcomings, the Spartans have some talented players. San Jose State is led by lengthy guard Rashad Muhammad. Muhammad is averaging a team high 13.8 points per game and, at 6-foot-6, is difficult to guard. In order to contain Muhammad, Wolf Pack guards D.J. Fenner, who stands at 6-foot-6, and Marqueze Coleman, who stands at 6-foot-4, will have to be on their A-game on defense.
NEVADA TAKES ON SURGING AIR FORCE
At the start of season Air Force was below the Wolf Pack in the conference standings and was considered the second worst team in the MWC. However, things have been promising for the Falcons over the last five weeks. After falling to 1-7 in conference play, Air Force turned it all around and has won four of its last seven games including an impressive 23-point win over Wyoming. The leader of the surge is senior Marek Olesinski.
During this campaign Olesinski is averaging 10 points per game, which is second on the squad. He is also averaging 4.8 rebounds per game, which is also second on the team. Olesinski has especially played well during conference play. In the 15 games Air Force has played this season, Olesinski is averaging a team-high 11.7 points per game while also averaging five rebounds per game, which is second on the team.
What makes Olesinski such a good player is how well he can shoot for his size. Despite being 6-foot- 9, Olesinski is shooting 51 percent from the field and a staggering 43 percent from the three-point range. In order to stop the big man with the smooth stroke, Nevada’s AJ West will have to step away from the paint and use his superior defensive skills to limit Olesinski’s impact on the perimeter.
Stone Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.