Predicting Nevada Basketball’s Non-Conference Win/Loss Results
Diving into Nevada’s ’19-20 non-conference slate
Predicting Nevada’s non-conference basketball results in ‘19-20
A new leaf has turned over in Reno as Steve Alford guides the Wolf Pack into the 2019-20 men’s basketball season. With five senior starters leaving and an offseason full of roster movement, Nevada will be tested early and often this coming season.
NOV. 5: Utah
WIN: Four of the top six scorers from Utah’s 17-win squad are gone. Can’t envision Alford dropping a debut home opener against a weaker team.
NOV. 9: Loyola Marymount
WIN: Top scorer James Batemon has graduated, but this feels like a trap game that could go either way. LMU has size and interior presence.
NOV. 12: UT Arlington
WIN: Another toss-up matchup against a defensive-minded UTA group. Could be a grind-it-out game that finishes in the 60s.
NOV. 16: USC
WIN: The Trojans are led by three returning seniors, two notable grad transfers, and a top 10 recruiting class. Andy Enfield has no shortage of talent.
NOV. 19: at Davidson
LOSS: All five starters are back from Bob McKillop’s 24-win team. Nevada’s first true road test could go sideways against an experienced group.
NOV. 22: VS. Fordham (Paradise JAM)
WIN: Unlike Davidson, this A-10 squad will have its struggles. The Rams were sub-300 nationally in most offensive categories last season.
NOV. 23: VS. Grand Canyon* (Paradise JAM)
LOSS: GCU has yet to break through to the Big Dance, but Dan Majerle’s group has logged 20 or more wins in four straight years. Solid roster.
Nov. 25: vs. Western Kentucky*(Paradise JAM)
LOSS: Rick Stansbury has a dangerous squad, headlined by dominating big man Charles Bassey (14.6 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.4 BPG). Tough test in this one.
DEC. 4: Santa Clara
WIN: Herb Sendek’s inexperienced group might be overwhelmed in this one. All three of SCU’s double-digit scorers are back, though.
DEC. 10: at BYU
LOSS: T.J. Haws and Yoeli Childs form one of the best guard-forward duos in the nation. Provo is a challenging place to get a road victory.
DEC. 18: Texas Southern
WIN: Former Nevada assistant Johnny Jones guides his group into Lawlor. TSU has dominated the SWAC of late. It is the SWAC, though.
DEC. 21: vs. Saint Mary’s (Al Attles Classic)
LOSS: Randy Bennett has another top 25 club which figures to be efficient offensively, thanks to senior star guard Jordan Ford (21.1 PPG, 41.2 3P%).
PROJECTED NON-CONFERENCE W-L RECORD: 7-5
Takeaway: This is a challenging 12-game stretch for a somewhat inexperienced roster and a new head coach. Though a 7-5 start might appear underwhelming after Nevada’s combined 35-5 non-conference record the past three years, it could be a good sign of things to come in Reno. The Wolf Pack is likely a top four MWC team that will rely on the conference tournament for a tournament bid.
Quality home tests paired with neutral-site battles and road trips against likely March Madness competition bodes well for Steve Alford’s team moving forward. Going 12-0 doesn’t need to be the ultimate goal.
Note: Asterisk (*) indicates projected opponents from Paradise Jam bracket. Projected opponents are based on preseason rankings from BartTorvik.com.
Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.