|8:00 PM PT9:00 PM MT10:00 PM CT11:00 PM ET4:00 PM GMT12:00 PM 北京时间9:00 PM MST11:00 PM EST, Nov 6, 2018
Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada Attendance: 11,094
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Eric Musselman begins his fourth season at the helm of the UNR Wolf Pack and expectations never have been higher in Reno.
Nevada is coming off a sensational season -- a coming out party so to speak -- for a program that is overlooked when discussing power programs west of the Mississippi.
The only surprise this season is if the No. 7 Wolf Pack fail to repeat what they did last season, and that's come within one possession of being an Elite Eight team after losing 69-68 to Loyola in the regional semis of the NCAA Tournament.
Nevada takes its first steps toward some lofty expectations on Tuesday when it opens its season with a stiff test against the BYU Cougars at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
After six months to rest on their accolades and accept slaps on the back for their 29-8 season, the Wolf Pack are ready to lace up their shoes, put the hype in the rear-view mirror and get back to business.
"The best way to deal with hype is to just kind of tune it out," Caleb Martin told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We have to realize that we are a new team, and we haven't really done anything with this team yet. Preseason accolades and expectations are just assumptions. People are just basing that on the type of talent we have and what we could do, not what we've done already."
Nevada's first preseason All-America pick, Caleb Martin, along with his twin brother Cody, anchor a returning squad that averaged 82.6 points last season. Caleb averaged 18.9 points per game while Cody led the team with 4.7 assists.
Jordan Caroline returns as does his team-leading 8.6 rebounds per game and 17.7 points per game.
Highly prized freshman center Jordan Brown might be the final piece of the puzzle for Musselman and the Wolf Pack.
Playing in the McDonalds All-Star Game, the 6-foot, 11-inch Brown scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the West squad making 13-of-19 shots.
"Jordan fits in perfect to how we want to play," Musselman said. "His size, length, motor, and athleticism are exactly what we want in our program."
While most of the buzz, with good reason, has surrounded the Wolf Pack, BYU just goes about its business in a workmanlike fashion.
The Cougars finished third in the West Coast Conference with an 11-7 conference record and a 24-11 overall mark. The Cougars have won at least 20 games in all 13 of coach Dave Rose's seasons in Provo.
But BYU has missed out on the NCAA Tournament three straight years, and Rose and his squad think that streak will end this season.
"You can't ask for anything better," BYU star forward Yoeli Childs told the Salt Lake Tribune. "It is an unbelievable opportunity to go out and do what we think we can do, and 1/8if 3/8 we can go out and get a win, that changes everything. Everybody looks at you differently."
BYU's leading scorer Elijah Bryant left to play in Israel, but Childs returns after averaging 17.8 points and 8. 6 rebounds last season. Playmaker TJ Hawes (11.7 points, 4.2 assists) also returns.
"It's what college basketball is all about - going to play in a fun environment, playing against a top-10 team," guard TJ Haws told the Deseret News. "I would love to play that every single week. I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be a big challenge for us, kind of a good measurement of where we're at."
Tuesday's matchup will be a good, early-season measuring stick for both teams. But the risk for BYU is much less than the Nevada.
"It is a great opportunity for us. Hopefully we can go over there ... and win the game," Rose told the Tribune. "But we will learn a lot about ourselves and where we are. It is a very athletic team. It is a very big, long, quick team that has a lot of experience, a lot of returning guys."
Updated November 6, 2018