By Neil Patrick Healy
Wolf Pack basketball will play at least one more time in the 2016 season. The Nevada men’s basketball team will host the University of Montana in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational at Lawlor Events Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. It is the 14th postseason for the Wolf Pack (six in the NCAA, five in the National Invitation Tournament and three in the CBI) and its first postseason appearance for the Wolf Pack since making the NIT in 2012.
Montana comes into Wednesday’s game with a 21-11 record, and finished second in the Big Sky Conference to Weber State with a 14-4 conference record. Despite losing to Weber State in the Big Sky Championship game 62-59, Montana’s second-year head coach Travis DeCuire has led the Grizzlies to back-to-back 20 win seasons. Nevada and Montana have met 40 times with Montana leading the series 22-18. The Wolf Pack won the last meeting at Montana 70-64 on Dec. 10, 2011, but Montana defeated the Pack 87-79 in the 2006 NCAA tournament in Salt Lake City on March 16, 2006.
After a successful first season for head coach Eric Musselman, Nevada will look to have its first win in the CBI in school history. Nevada has appeared in the CBI in 2008 and 2009, but lost to Houston and UTEP in both meetings. The Wolf Pack has already more than doubled its win total and conference wins from last season and will look to add a 20th win to the season total. Nevada also finished fourth in the conference, which is its second best finish since joining the conference in 2012.
The CBI is a 16-team tournament with first-round games set for March 15 and 16. The quarterfinals are March 21 with the semifinals on March 23. The finals are a best-two-of-three-games series to be played on March 28, 30 and April 1.
The first 400 Nevada students with a valid student ID will be admitted to the game for free. The 400 tickets will be distributed at the main entrance to Lawlor Events Center when the gates open at 5:30 p.m. Additional student tickets will be available to purchase for $5.
Neil Patrick Healy can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @NP_Healy.