Louisiana Tech (16-14) at Nevada (24-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 10:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawlor Events Center (11,536) -- Reno, Nevada. Television: None. Home Record: LaTech 11-4, Nevada 14-2. Away Record: LaTech 4-9, Nevada 9-2. Neutral Record: LaTech 1-1, Nevada 1-1. Conference Record: LaTech 6-7, Nevada 12-1. Series Record: Nevada leads, 18-5.
GAME NOTES: After clinching the Western Athletic Conference regular season title on Thursday, the Nevada Wolf Pack will play their final game before the postseason as they host streaking Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at the Lawlor Events Center.
The Pack leads the all-time series between the teams by a 18-5 margin, winning four straight decisions. Nevada held off the Bulldogs to escape their trip to Ruston with a 65-63 win in the first meeting of the season between these programs on Jan. 28. The last victory for LaTech came in the first meeting of the 2009-10 campaign when the Bulldogs captured a 77-71 final in Ruston.
The Bulldogs are riding a season-best five game winning streak into their finale with the Wolf Pack, and will be seeking revenge after coming up just short the first time against Nevada. Louisiana Tech will try to continue its hot shooting, as it has connected on 50 percent or more of its field goal attempts in three of its last four games. The Bulldogs hit 8-of-16 from three- point range on Thursday to earn a 75-70 victory over Fresno State. Rookie head coach Michael White's team is 16-14 overall and tied for fifth in the league standings. A win tonight could help them to a fourth-place finish, but a loss could drop them down to a sixth seed.
LaTech will look to its outstanding freshman forward for leadership in this one. Appleby produced 15 points versus Fresno State on Thursday to score in double-digits for the 17th time in his last 19 outings. Trevor Gaskins and Cordarius Johnson are both carrying double-digit scoring averages as well to provide scoring depth for the Bulldogs.
Nevada clinched the WAC regular season title on Thursday night with its 65-61 win over New Mexico State. The Wolf Pack have had a tremendous season on their way to a 24-5 overall record and a 12-1 mark in league action. Coach David Carter is set on returning the program to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2006-2007 season. Nevada's impressive season has been built on its defensive strength, as it has held opponents to 64.7 ppg.
The Wolf Pack have a very balanced attack as four players are scoring in double figures. Deonte Burton is leading the charge with 15.0 points and 4.2 assists per game. Malik Story and Olek Czyz are second and third in scoring with 14.3 and 13.8 points per game, respectively. Dario Hunt is the workhorse inside as he is adding 10.2 points and a team-high 9.7 rebounds per game. Having four players with different styles of play that are capable of a huge scoring night on any given occasion gives Nevada a lot of flexibility when facing different defensive looks.
Nevada's run to the regular season championship has been impressive, but it has lost steam as of late. The Wolf Pack just barely escaped their last two games and will not be as fortunate if the Bulldogs remain hot from the field.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 70, Nevada 65
03/03 10:38:02 ET