- Conference/Location: Mountain West (Reno, NV)
- 2016-2017 Record: 1-1 (Last Game: 79-64 Win over LMU)
- Head Coach: Eric Musselman (2nd Season)
- Top Performer: Marcus Marshall (21.5 PPG, 3.5 APG)
- Points For: 71.0 PPG (T-230th)
- Points Against: 72.5 PPG (T-182nd)
Nevada is a program on the rise in the Mountain West, as second year head coach Eric Musselman transformed the 9-22 program he inherited, into a 24 win outfit a season ago. Talk about some impressive turnaround time for a coach getting back into the college head coaching game.
A key to the success of the Wolfpack’s quick turnaround has been a renewed approach on both ends of the floor under Musselman, including taking on a much more defensive-oriented type of culture, that was prevalent in flashes during last year’s thrilling CBI Championship series win over Morehead State. It also doesn’t hurt to have the influx of talent that Musselman has brought to campus, as well.
While this year’s team is headlined by impact transfers, such as guards Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) and Jordan Caroline (Southern Illinois), NBA prospect Cameron Oliver and steady veterans in D.J. Fenner and Elijah Foster, it’s the overall change in perception of the program that has helped Musselman to secure a Top 25 roster for next season already.
The Wolfpack will debut a quarter of power conference transfers in Cody and Caleb Martin (North Carolina State), Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) in the 2017-2018 season, that is already shaping up to be one of the best rosters ever assembled in the program’s history. Look for Nevada to play off the building momentum around their program and give the Beavers a run for their money on Friday night in Reno.
Keys To The Game
⇛ Slow Down The Marcus Marshall Show
A transfer guard from Missouri State, Marshall averaged 19.5 PPG during the 2014-2015 season with the Bears before deciding to leave school for Nevada. So far this season, he seems to have picked up right where he left off. Marshall has taken 35 shots through two games as the focal point of the Wolfpack offense, averaging 21.5 PPG in the process. Oregon State will have to find creative ways to pressure and slow down this high-scoring guard.
⇛ Oregon State Must Solve The Turnover Issues
During Eric Musselman’s stay in Reno, Nevada has been a tough-minded, defensive-oriented team who usually relies on stellar game-plans to disrupt opponent’s offensive tendencies. That’s not good news for the Beavers, who turned the ball over a stunning 27 times in their loss against Lamar. Oregon State needs their backcourt to play under control and take what the defense gives them, against Nevada.
⇛ The Beavers Must Win The Battle In The Paint
Oregon State has done a great job on the glass in this young season, out-rebounding all three of their opponents by a combined margin of 142-109. However, Nevada forward Cameron Oliver is the best big man talent that the Beavers will face until their Pac-12 opener against USC on December 28th. While Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle and Drew Eubanks are one of the best forward-duos on the west coast, they’ll have to work in tandem on both ends of the floor to contain a future pro in Oliver.
Player To Watch
Forward - Cameron Oliver (Sophomore)
Expected to be the star of the show for the Wolfpack before guard Marcus Marshall showed up on campus, Oliver is a bruising and steady talent for head coach Eric Musselman, who returned to Reno for his second year with the program after testing NBA Draft waters this summer. It’s probably safe to say Musselman is glad to have him back. Oliver blocked a program record 99 shots in his freshman season, en route to being named to the Mountain West’s All-Defensive team. He also tallied 12 double-doubles on the year, while helping Nevada to a CBI title. Musselman will be hoping for a similar output from the Sacramento native in what could be his last year with the program. Through two games in the 2016-2017 season, Oliver is continuing to be a steady producer, averaging 13.5 PPG on 58.8% shooting from the field, as well as 3.0 blocks per game. Look for Oliver’s abilities on both ends of the floor to create an tough match-up for a top-heavy Beavers front-court.