Nevada vs. San Diego Game Preview
Wolf Pack go on the road to face the WCC
Who: Nevada Wolf Pack (4-2) vs. University of San Diego Toreros (0-1)
When: Monday, December 14 – 6:00 PM PST/8:00 PM CST/9:00 PM EST
Where: Jenny Craig Pavilion; San Diego, CA.
Stream: WCC Network
Nevada travels to Southern California on Monday to face the University of San Diego. The Wolf Pack look to end their non-conference schedule on a high note before facing Air Force on Friday. The University of San Diego Toreros have only had one game so far and one game canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
This San Diego Torero team is returning key pieces and veteran talent from a team that only won two games in the West Coast Conference last season. While San Diego does lose an all-WCC honorable mention player in Braun Hartfield to grand transfer, they return starters such as 6’3 guard Joey Calcaterra and 6’10 big man Yauhen Massalski. Calcaterra averaged 11.4 points last season and is San Diego’s first option when needing a basket.
Massalski gives San Diego a much needed presence down low providing not only defense but rebounding as well. In San Diego’s first game against UCLA, Massalski grabbed 14 rebounds paired with nine points. Joining these two vets is Duquesne transfer Frankie Hughes, who should provide an immediate impact in his first year eligible for the Toreros.
In San Diego’s first game the Toreros struggled to score the ball, shooting 31% from the field and turning the ball over 12 times. Calcaterra led the team with 18 points on 6-11 shooting, adding four buckets from beyond the arch. Hughes had no problem adjusting with his new team, scoring 10 points and two steals in his first game with the Toreros. This is a team that likes to slow the ball down ranking 238th in the country in pace of play.
Nevada is coming off a close 77-87 loss to a very good GCU team. The Wolf Pack had no problem scoring the ball as the team shot 45% from the field and had three different players in double-digit scoring. This scoring outburst was led by Desmond Cambridge Jr. who had 24 points. Unfortunately for Nevada, GCU had no problem scoring the ball either. The ‘Lopes shot a blistering 57% from the field and 47% from beyond the arch.
While the Wolf Pack has proved they can score the ball but stopping their opponents from scoring is a different story. Nevada ranks 123rd in adjusted defense according to KenPom.
While they can shut some teams down (like they did against NDSU, Nebraska and William Jessup), the Wolf Pack struggle defensively against good offensive teams like San Francisco and GCU. If Nevada wants to compete against teams such as SDSU and Boise State, this young team needs to fix their defensive woes before conference play.
Keys to win:
For Nevada to win this game the Wolf Pack needs to play a clean game and continue to score the ball with ease. Nevada also needs to limit the Toreros on the boards. While the team as a whole doesn’t rebound the ball at a high rate, Massalski is a beast on the boards and could potentially make things difficult for the Wolf Pack. Nevada should win with ease if they limit the three-ball which is something they haven’t been able to do well this year. San Diego shot the three-point shot 19 times against UCLA, a trend I believe will continue against the Pack.
For the Toreros to win, San Diego needs to shoot the ball well from beyond the arch. Nevada has let teams launch the ball from deep, ranking 315th in opponent three-point attempts. San Diego also needs to limit the production from Nevada’s backcourt duo of Cambridge Jr. and Grant Sherfield. Sherfield and Cambridge Jr. are number one and two in scoring for Nevada. If San Diego wants to pull off the upset at home, they need to force someone other than Sherfield or Cambridge Jr. to score the ball.
Nevada has done what many people thought they would do so far, beat the “bad” teams and lose to the “good” teams. Nevada should be able to take care of San Diego with ease if they limit the Toreros shooting from deep. The Wolf Pack have too much athleticism and scoring ability to lose to San Diego. Warren Washington has seemed as if he has found his groove, while Zane Meeks has woken up from his early season slumber. The Wolf Pack takes care of business in sunny San Diego, 79-63.