Nevada Wolf Pack: 27-7, 15-3 in the Mountain West
Head coach: Eric Musselman (3rd season)
Players to watch: Caleb Martin (19.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG); Jordan Caroline (17.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG); Cody Martin (13.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG)
Season recap: Pegged as one of the top mid-majors in the preseason, Nevada did not disappoint and put together a strong enough resume to garner an at-large bid to the Big Dance. The Wolf Pack notched a win against Rhode Island in nonconference play and went down to the wire in losses to Texas Tech and TCU. Nevada then ran through its conference schedule before losing to San Diego State twice in a week, including a loss in the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament.
Eric Musselman’s team is one of the most prolific offensive teams in the nation. The Wolf Pack ranked 10th in KenPom’s adjusted offense metric and averaged a little more than 83 points per game. Nevada is led by twins Caleb and Cody Martin—a pair of juniors who transferred from N.C. State. Caleb Martin was named Mountain West Player of the Year, but struggled down the stretch as he battled a ligament sprain in his foot. The Martin twins, along with junior Jordan Caroline, carried the bulk of the load for the Wolf Pack, and each of the three averaged more than 33 minutes per game in the regular season.
The picture is not as pretty on the other end of the floor for Nevada. The Wolf Pack are one of the worst defensive teams in the nation and gave up an average of 78 points in their five games against NCAA tournament teams.
How they make a run: The Martin twins continue their strong seasons, and the Wolf Pack’s strategy of outscoring teams pays dividends as they advance to the second weekend of the Big Dance.
How they falter: Nevada’s late-season swoon is indicative of its struggles on the defensive end of the floor, and the Wolf Pack are unable to get enough stops to make it out of the first round.