Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: San Diego State and Colorado State lead a strong Mountain West

Dec 31, 2022; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; A general view as a basketball bounces over the
Dec 31, 2022; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; A general view as a basketball bounces over the / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Nevada Wolf Pack 15-1, 2-0 in Mountain West

Steve Alford’s Nevada Wolf Pack was picked to finish fourth in the conference, and after dispatching Air Force they are now 15-1 and undefeated in conference. They enter a big stretch having won eight straight. Four of the Wolf Pack’s next five come against other contenders, including road tilts at San Diego State and Alford’s former team, New Mexico. Nevada’s non-conference schedule wasn’t as strong as some of the other teams in the conference, with their best wins coming against Washington and TCU. But, they’ve done all they can up until now to put themselves in position to make the tournament, they have won all but one of their games, the only loss came to MVC favorite Drake.

The Wolf Pack have been very efficient on both ends of the floor this year. They rank in the top 55 in both offensive (55) and defensive (31) efficiencies. They also rank 31st in effective field goal percentage defense, 5th in offensive steal percentage only turning it over nine times per game. The Wolf Pack are a very good defensive team that allows 63 points per game. They’ve allowed over 70 points just three times this season and rank in the top-70 in two-point, three-point and free-throw percentage defense.

When looking at Nevada’s resume, two things stick out. Their strengths of schedule is a major deficiency, they are just 269th in their non-conference slate and just 293rd overall. The other eye-sore on the resume is the 12 wins in quads 3 and 4, compared to just three games in the first two. But, if you look at the NET the metrics look upon them much more favorably. Their metrics average is 31 with the results-based ones at 21.5 and the predictive 40.5. The good news for Nevada who is ranked 30th in the NET is that they have nine chances remaining on their schedule against the four other contenders in this column, so the opportunity is there for all of the numbers to improve greatly for the Wolf Pack.