#57 Nevada Wolfpack: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With all five starters back from last season, the Nevada Wolfpack are in a position to capitalize on a likely down year from Utah State and win the WAC.  That would certainly be considered “going out with a bang” as it is their final year as part of the conference before moving to the Mountain West.

NEVADA WOLFPACK
Last Season: T-2nd, 8-8 in WAC, 13-19 overall
Predicted WAC Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Dario Hunt (Sr)/Devonte Elliott (So)/Richard Bell (Fr)
F: Olek Czyz (Sr)/Kevin Panzer (Jr)
G/F: Jerry Evans (So)/Jordan Burris (So)
SG: Malik Story (Jr)/Patrick Nyego (Jr)
PG: Deonte Burton (So)/Jordan Finn (So)

Gone: PG-Derrell Conner (transfer-Emporia State), PF-Marko Cukic (transfer-Hawaii Pacific), C-Illiwa Baldwin

2011-2012 Outlook:
Last year was a year of transition for the The Wolfpack as they had to replace their top two players.  With a few transfers and several freshmen entering the mix, Nevada took their expected bumps but that should pay great dividends this season.

Head coach David Carter returns the conference’s top rebounder and shot blocker in Dario Hunt who will anchor the interior.  Hunt will be joined in the starting frontcourt by Olek Czyz.  The former Duke transfer offers more versatility than Hunt due to Czyz’s ability to stretch defenses with his outside shooting.

Devonte Eilliott and Kevin Panzer each saw decent minutes off the bench last season and will once again assume those roles.  Elliott is more in the mold of Hunt in that he is most effective in the paint.  Panzer is more similar to Czyz with his ability to shoot the rock.  With experienced depth up-front, freshman Richard Bell could end up redshirting.

WAC Freshman of the year Deonte Burton is a scoring point guard who can stroke it from the outside but is also dangerous off the bounce.  He will need to become a better distributor this season is he wants to become more well-rounded and help his team.  The transfer of Derrell Conner means Jordan Finn will handle the back-up point guard duties.

There is a lot of size and athleticism on the wing.  Indiana transfer Malik Story led the team in scoring in his first year with the Pack.  He is an all-around two guard who can score from the inside or outside and also handle the rock.  6-8 Jerry Evans Jr. had a decent redshirt freshman season and will be the fifth option in the starting five.  Jordan Burris and Patrick Nyeko offer more size off the bench.

2010-2011 was the first time in a decade that the Wolfpack finished with a losing record.  A full year of experience playing together and having all of their key pieces back should help Nevada make a significant leap this season and possibly re-establish their tradition from the mid-2000’s when they won five straight WAC regular season titles.

dario hunt nevada

Player to Watch: Dario Hunt
The 6-8 Hunt needs just six blocks to become the school’s all-time leader.  He brings a nice combination of strength and athleticism to the floor and has started all but eight games during his time at Nevada.  If he progresses into his senior season like he did from his sophomore to junior years, Hunt could end up being selected in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/11 vs. Missouri State
11/14 at UNLV
11/25 vs. BYU (Chicago Invitational Challenge)
11/26 vs. Wisconsin/Bradley (Chicago Invitational Challenge)
12/2 vs. Washington
12/7 at Arizona State
2/18 at TBA (ESPN BracketBusters)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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