How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Sunday, 11/12/22
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: Huskies Gameday App, Sports Radio KJR
Location: Seattle, Washington
Betting Line: Washington Huskies -3
Nevada Wolfpack 2023-24 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 77.0 ppg (107th)
Points Against per Game: 63.0 ppg (79th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 106.7 (67th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.1 (68th)
Strength of Schedule: 198th
Nevada Key Players:
G- Hunter McIntosh, Sr. 6’3. 185: 12 ppg, 1 rpg, 1 apg, 62.5% FG, 66.7% 3pt, 0% FT
After transferring in from Elon, McIntosh missed almost all of last season due to injury but returned for the final 6 games to contribute off the bench. He’s a career 37% 3-pt shooter and averaged nearly 16 points per game as a sophomore so he’s capable of filling up the box score.
G- Jarod Lucas, Sr. 6’4, 185: 18 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg, 28.6% FG, 16.7% 3pt, 100% FT
Husky fans will remember Lucas from his days at Oregon State. He led Nevada in scoring last year at 17.0 points per game and is on that same pace so far this season. Lucas has shot between 37-40% from 3 each of the last 3 seasons and is deadly from deep. He tied his career high in assists of 4 in the season opener so he is much more of a shooting guard than a point guard although he has a capable handle.
F- Tre Coleman, Sr. 6’7, 215: 4 ppg, 2 rpg, 4 apg, 20% FG, 0% 3pt, 100% FT
Coleman has been a capable wing option for Nevada putting up close to 6 points and 3 rebounder per game each of the last few seasons. He was extremely efficient last season making 53% of his 2’s and 36% of his 3’s with a low turnover rate but very rarely shoots the ball and focuses primarily on his defense and keeping the offense running.
F- Kenan Blackshear, Sr. 6’6, 215: 14 ppg, 7 rpg, 3 apg, 50% FG, 0% 3pt, 100% FT
The grad student transferred in from Florida Atlantic before they got good. Last season was a breakout year for Blackshear as he averaged career highs of 14, 4 and 5 as a bit of a point forward. He’ll take a few 3’s per contest but that isn’t his game as he’s below 30% from outside for his career. Instead, Blackshear loves to take the ball inside and fight through contact to get to the free throw line. This will be a game where it’s handy that the Huskies have 3 reliable bigs.
C- KJ Hymes, Sr. 6’10, 235: 4 ppg, 5 rpg, 0 apg, 33.3% FG, 0% 3pt, 28.6% FT
Nevada also rotates heavily with their big men as Hymes, Nick Davidson, and Jazz Gardner all played 14-18 minutes in their first game. Hymes only played 4 games last season due to injury but was a 3-year rotation player for Nevada before that. He’s a skilled post player and good offensive rebounder who has a chance to really be a problem for Wilhelm Breidenbach on the glass. The 6’9 Davidson averaged 6 ppg last year as a stretch forward while freshman Jazz Gardner is a true 7-footer.
It makes it tough to preview games when the opposing team has only played a single game, let alone when the primary reason that game made headlines was because of a cauldron of bats flying above the court.
This Nevada team projects to be the biggest challenge Washington has faced so far and that shouldn’t be all that close. The Wolfpack made the NCAA tournament last season with an at-large bid, sneaking into the First Four where they were shellacked by Arizona State. That was part of a mini-collapse where Nevada lost their final 4 games to fall from 32 to 62 at KenPom.
Bringing back all the pieces from a pretty good team doesn’t always make them really good the next year but it usually doesn’t hurt. Nevada, based on their game 1 lineup, is 4th in the country in D1 experience and 17th in minutes continuity. It’s a veteran team that starts 5 seniors, all of whom played at least 15 minutes per game last season. A pair of freshmen played between 12 and 14 minutes in their opener but otherwise every other rotation player is a returner. They know how to play together and won’t be scared of the moment.
Last year Nevada was extremely well balanced finishing 58th in offensive efficiency and 71st in defensive efficiency. They don’t overwhelm you with amazing shooting but were extremely good with their ball movement and played like a veteran team. They finished top-30 in the country in assists per field goal made, turnover rate, and free throw attempts per field goal made. Under Steve Alford they take care of the ball and find players cutting to the rim in position to get fouled and convert at the line where they shot nearly 80% as a team.
The good news for Washington, who still struggled with their rebounding against Northern Kentucky, is that Nevada doesn’t attack the offensive glass and is content to fall back and get set on defense. Then again, the Huskies have committed to pushing the pace in transition and it’s unlikely they find a ton of openings in that regard against Nevada.
That means the game will come down to half-court execution which is a mixed bag. Washington looked good under the leadership of Sahvir Wheeler for much of Thursday night’s game but had three stretches where they couldn’t get out of their own way with multiple turnovers in a row. If the Huskies can avoid the dumb mistakes (shuffled feet, accidentally stepping out of bounds, getting caught on the baseline) then they should be able to outscore Nevada.
Washington followed up a 50% outside shooting night on Monday with a 17% effort on Thursday. Nevada is too good to beat with the latter and the Huskies need to hit at least one-third of their three-pointers this time around to have a shot.
The advanced metrics see this game as a toss-up. It’s close at each of Torvik (Nevada 58, UW 66), EvanMiya (UW 47, Nevada 64), and most of all at KenPom (Nevada 68, UW 69). The Huskies are getting the home court benefit but this one should come down to the wire. I’m giving the edge to the team full of returners in that scenario to make that one extra play to get Nevada over the hump.
My record this year: 2-0 Straight Up, 0-2 Against the Spread
Washington Huskies- 71, Nevada Wolfpack- 72