Nevada vs. Grand Canyon: Preview, Odds, How To Stream
Wolf Pack looking to keep winning vs. WAC foe.
Nevada goes on the road
Who: Nevada Wolf Pack (4-1) vs. Grand Canyon Antelopes (3-0)
When: Friday, December 11 – 6:00 PM PST/8:00 PM CST/9:00 PM EST
Where: GCU Arena; Phoenix, AZ.
Radio: Nevada via TuneIn
Odds via BetMGM: Nevada -2.5
Both the Nevada Wolf Pack and the GCU Antelopes are off to great starts in this young 2020 season. Nevada has been dealt one sole loss while the Antelopes have skated by without a blemish. Now, the Wolf Pack travel to GCU arena which will be the first game in which Nevada will play in front of fans.
GCU has sailed to a 3-0 start due to the quality of opponents paired with great team play. The Antelopes have crushed their opponent, winning by an average of 28.6 points during this young season. This is due in part to their front court play as GCU has two towers down low that not only take on the bulk of the rebounding, but also shoulder the scoring load as well. 7’0 center Asbjorn Midtgaard and 6’10 forward Alessandro Lever both start for the ‘Lopes and are GCU’s two leading scorers. They make up 37% of GCU’s scoring on the season and 38% of their rebounding.
If Nevada wants any chance to quiet the 250 screaming fans at the GCU arena, they will have to stop the European duo down low. The Antelopes third option comes at the hands of the reigning WAC freshman player of the year, Jovan Blacksher Jr. The WAC freshman player of the year was an award once held by teammate and leading scorer Alessandro Lever. Blacksher Jr. is the primary ball handler and third leading scorer. The 5’10 guard can score as well as dish the rock as Blacksher Jr. leads the team in assists.
All things considered with this young Wolf Pack team, Nevada is off to a good start. Nevada is 4-1 and is learning how to play as a team. The Wolf Pack is also getting production from not only their transfers such as Grant Sherfield, Warren Washington, and Desmond Cambridge, but true freshmen such as Tre Coleman.
With a win tonight against GCU, Nevada has a legit chance at going into the conference season with only one blemish on their record. If you are a Wolf Pack fan, this is one of the better scenarios that could have played out for this young, inexperienced Wolf Pack squad.
Now Nevada faces who could be one of the toughest non-conference opponents so far in the GCU Antelopes. Nevada has been hurt by the three ball allowing William Jessup to score 10, San Francisco to drain 15, and Nebraska to make 9. While GCU might not have the best shooters from beyond the arch, the Wolf Pack will need to clean up their defense in the future. We will see if Nevada can become a complete team against GCU.
Keys to win: While GCU has height, scoring, rebounding, and a boisterous crowd, one thing the Antelopes are lacking is defense. Last year the Antelope rolled out one of the worst defenses in the nation ranking 327th per KenPom. It may seem as if the defensive woes have subsided in this early 2020 season (GCU is only allowing 55 points per game), but the ‘Lopes haven’t necessarily been playing offensive powerhouses to start the season. Nevada has shown that when they are hot, they can score the ball at will. It is paramount for GCU to tighten up on defense and stop Nevada’s high scoring back court. A key for Nevada will be to force GCU to shoot the ball. This is a team that struggles from beyond the arch ranking 251st in three-point average at 28% on the season. While GCU may shoot the three-ball at a high frequency, they are lacking in efficiency.
Prediction: This is GCU’s first real test of the season. Yes, they have been able to score at an impressive rate but it is unlikely the high scoring output will continue against a credible defense such as Nevada’s. GCU has been able to score at will around the rim but have not seen 7’0 Washington and 6’10 Robinson that can stop them from scoring.
Ultimately, this is a game both teams are more than capable of winning. I believe this game will come down to experience which is something the Wolf Pack is gaining with every game, but ultimately, do not have at this point of the season. I will take the Antelopes at home in this high scoring affair. GCU wins 78-69.