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File photo Rebels’ Goodluck Okonoboh (11) attempts to posterize Nevada’s AJ West (3) on January 27, 2015. The schools split the three men’s basketball points for the Governor’s Series with each taking 1.5 points. UNLV currently holds a 21-18 advantage.

by Eric Uribe

Since the Governor’s Series was rolled out two years ago, the head-to-head competition against rival UNLV hasn’t gone too well for the Wolf Pack. In 2012, the Rebels dominated with a 37.5-10.5 victory. Last year, UNLV repeated as champions with a slightly more competitive 30-18 win.

However, the trophy will be a dead heat this season. With three events remaining, the Rebels hold a slim 21-18 edge. The final points will be decided in men’s golf, outdoor women’s track and field and Academic Progress Rate scores.

The scenario for Wolf Pack to hoist the trophy up is simple: win two of the next three events. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

The first trio of points will be up for grabs during the men’s golf Mountain West Championships on May 1-3. Since the tournament, isn’t a one-on-one affair, the school that places higher will take the three points.

Going into the faceoff, the Rebels have the clear-cut leg up. For one, the team holds a No. 25 ranking nationally. UNLV has finished in the top five in seven of its 10 tournaments this year. Moreover, the Rebels have finished third or better on five occasions — including two team wins.

Nevada can’t say the same. During the weekend at the Ping Cougar Classic, the Wolf Pack finished eighth out of 10 teams during its final MW Championship tuneup.

Without question, money is on UNLV to win the men’s golf points. It would be smart to parlay that money to include the Rebels taking the outdoor women’s track and field competition, too.

The proof is in the pudding: During the women’s indoor track and field MW Championships on Feb. 26-28, UNLV cruised to an easy three points. The Rebels’ fourth-place finish buried the Wolf Pack’s ninth-place outing.

It would be a shock to no one if the outcome is replicated during the outdoor MW Championships in San Diego, California on May 13-16.

Outside of record-breaking performances from Nevada distance runner Emily Myers, pole vaulter Alison Powers and sprinter Katherine Surin, wins have been few and far between for the Wolf Pack. Last weekend during the Bulldog Invitational, the team won a meager three events. During the same meet, UNLV  registered 18 top-eight finishes. 

Nevada needs to score an upset win in one of the two competitions to have any hope. However, as the Wolf Pack men’s tennis team demonstrated this past weekend, anything can happen during a tournament.

The score-to-end-all-scores comes in each sport’s APR scores. APR measure team’s academic success and progress based off player’s eligibility, retention and graduation measurements.

The points will be awarded based on a sport-by-sport comparison of APR scores. The school with the most wins will notch the three points.

Nevada can’t afford any ties besides one: if the Wolf Pack win two of the three remaining events, the Governor Series will be knotted up at 24 points apiece. In that case, the Battle of the Fremont Cannon football game serves as the ultimate tiebreaker.

A 49-27 beatdown of the Rebels by the Wolf Pack back on Nov. 29, 2014 gives Nevada that ever-important advantage. As much as ties are frowned upon in sports, you can’t help but root for one in this scenario if you’re a Wolf Pack diehard.

Eric Uribe can be reached at euribe@ sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @Uribe_Eric.