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The Nevada men’s basketball team made the NCAA March Madness tournament for the second year in a row, this time as a solidified 10-seed in the West region.

“The pressure was huge. It felt like last year a little bit,” Nick Davidson, Nevada forward, said in a press conference after the event. “I knew we were in, but they made us wait, that’s for sure. But, it was very nice to see our name called on the board, and it’s a great opportunity coming up.”

This bid marks the eleventh time Nevada has made the tournament and the fourth time it has done so in consecutive years. 

However, the upcoming tournament will be only the second time the Wolf Pack has been the 10-seed. The other time was in 2004, when Nevada went to the Sweet 16 and lost to No. 3 Georgia Tech 72-67.

“I didn’t expect the 10-seed,” Tré Coleman, Nevada forward, said. “But we still got in. I think Dayton is a good draw for us.”

Historically, the 10-seed has been one of the best places for Nevada. The Wolf Pack’s lone 10-seed appearance left them with a 2-1 record, the second most amount of games they have played. The only other seed Nevada has played three or more games in is the seven seed. The program is 3-3 off of three appearances.

”Our guys are really excited about the opportunity to play,” Steve Alford, head coach of the Nevada men’s basketball team, said. “To play close to home. Hopefully we’ll sell a lot of tickets. This is an easy flight, easy game to get to. It’ll be a great weekend in Salt Lake City.”

Nevada’s 10-seed placement was a shock to many in the Lawlor Events Center for the watch party. On March 11, Nevada was ranked No. 23 in the nation and was projected to be a five or six seed in the dance. This was changed, however, when the team was upset by Colorado State in the Mountain West Conference tournament on March 14. Despite the Pack’s loss and other key programs winning/losing, organizations like ESPN and CBS still had Nevada as a seven seed in different regions going into the morning of March 17.

”Honestly, with some of the seeds, [we] weren’t given the respect we should’ve had,” Jarod Lucas, Nevada guard, said. “The Mountain West…we’re all really good teams and we’re all knocking each other off all year. It was a little disappointing to see the seeds, but obviously we are all tremendously happy to get into the NCAA tournament.”

The Pack’s three seed drop followed a trend almost every other Mountain West school who got a bid for the dance had happened to them as well. Of the other five schools, those being San Diego State, Utah State, Colorado State, Boise State and New Mexico, all but Utah State and San Diego State fell multiple seeds from where they were projected. Below are the projections from ESPN for the six Mountain West schools before Selection Sunday and where they were seeded.

San Diego State: Projected six/seeded five (up one)

Utah State: Projected seven/seeded eight (down one)

Nevada: Projected seven/seeded 10 (down three)

New Mexico: Projected nine/seeded 11 (down two)

Boise State: Projected eight/seeded in first four (down four)

Colorado State: Projected nine/seeded in first four (down three)

Alford commented on many of the Mountain West teams being seeded lower than expected.

”Sometimes seeding comes down to where you’re going to go, where you’re going to play,” Alford said. “I’m sure when there’s multiple teams [from the same conference], it gets harder. Some of the seedings seem a bit off to me. But at this point, you know you’re going to play someone really good and you feel fortunate to be a part of the national tournament.”

Nevada now has a few days to prepare before leaving for Salt Lake City, Utah, where they will take on the Dayton Flyers in the first round of the NCAA tournament on March 21 at 1:30 p.m.

”I don’t want this to end, really,” Kenan Blackshear, Nevada guard, said. “We’re just very connected right now, and we want to play as long as we can, go out there and have fun and get better from last year.”

Derek Raridon can be reached via email or Twitter @TheBigCountry14

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