Thursday, February 08, 2007

FSU vs. #11/12 Nevada

Upset in the making? Lets hope so.

The Fresno State Bulldogs come into the Thursday night matchup with the Nevada Wolfpack with a 5-5 record in the WAC and on the heels of a 72-70 overtime victory at Idaho. The Wolfpack enter after a home victory over Hawaii in a controversial 69-68 game. There were some shall we say “timing” and “officiating” issues in the final seconds.

The Wolfpack coming in:

In the victory over the Warriors, the Wolfpack were led by guard Marcellus Kemp’s 23 points and All American Nick Fazekas’ 21 points and 10 rebounds. Kemp shot 7-12 from the field, 4-7 from three, and 5-5 from the line. Nevada shot a blistering 95% from the charity stripe on 21-22 shooting.

Also in double figures was guard Ramon Sessions with 10 while starting guard Kyle Shiloh of Garces High (Bakersfield) had only 2 points and also commited 3 turnovers. The Hawaii game was only the third game all season in which Nevada was outrebounded although the margin was only one.

The Wolfpack enter with only 3 players scoring in double figures but the trio combine for an offensive punch most opponents cannot match. Fazekas enters at 20 points per game followed by Kemp at 19 and Sessions at 13. As a team the Wolfpack average 77 ppg and yield only 66.

Team shooting percentages as follows: FG-49%, 3PTFG-41%, FT-74%

One area of issue and vulnerability for the Wolfpack is their 13.3 turnovers per game.

The Bulldogs Coming in:

In their first road win in WAC play over Idaho the Bulldogs were led by Dominic McGuire’s 21 point, 14 rebound, and 7 assist effort. Quinton Hosley also added a double double with 14 points and 14 rebounds as the forward combo combine for 28 of the teams 38 rebounds.

The Bulldogs will be without the services of senior guard Javance Coleman for the remainder of the season. Coleman was suspended following the Idaho game, the game which Coleman scored 9 pts in the overtime. Eddie Miller will now take on a much larger role, although he did start while Coleman struggled in WAC play.

The Bulldogs victory over Idaho was another in which they did not shoot the ball very well and struggled to score at times. They shot 34% from the field but helped to offset that with 21 made free throws in 28 attempts.

What to look for:

This is a game in which the Bulldogs enter with a lift off of a big road victory and Nevada enters off a less than stellar effort. They cant afford to get off to a slow start in this home contest as they did against Hawaii. They will need to get confidence early by knocking down some shots and getting the Save Mart Center crowd involved. Also needed will be defensive intensity and the ability to force some miscues from the Wolfpack.

The Bulldogs will be fine if they are able to keep both Fazekas and Kemp at the 20 point mark with Sessions and Shiloh combining for 15 points. The key is not allowing a breakout game like was yielded to Nevada Forward Denis Ikolev in the first meeting that the Wolfpack won 85-75. The Bulldogs need to match the kind of effort they put forth in the first 30 minutes of that game to defeat the mighty Wolfpack

MBs Take:

As has been the case for quite some time you just don’t know which FSU team shows up tomorrow night. Is it the team that played a great half on the road at Nevada or a team that is incapable of scoring like the last matchup with Hawaii? Each season the Bulldogs are able to pull off an upset against a ranked opponent at some point in the season. Last season was the home victory over Nevada, and in the past it has been games over Utah and Tulsa of the WACs of the past.

If Kemp and Fazekas are good but not great and there isn’t a breakout game for any other Nevada players there is a great opportunity for the upset. The Bulldogs must shoot 40+% from the field and 35% or better from three.

If these things occur then I say the Bulldogs win a nailbiter by a bucket in the final seconds. Why not.

Nevada Preview

FSU Preview

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