Mitch Moss: Can Nevada Basketball Go All The Way?


(AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes)

Nevada forward Cody Martin (11) looks to pass the ball against Utah State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Reno, Nev., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.

Nevada Wolfpack basketball continues to do gangbusters. 

They're the sixth-best team in the country, according to the polls, and have yet to lose this season. 

Meanwhile, UNLV Rebel basketball came back and won against Colorado State to improve to 7 and 6. 

But does that mean anything?

Discussion Highlights

Are you surprised that Nevada has yet to lose a game?

They had some pretty good competition. They did beat USC. They beat Arizona State. They beat Kansas but then they flopped against Princeton the following game. It was close for a while against Utah. They played some decent competition non-conference. It wasn't a killer schedule. I’m super high on this team but I know how anybody can't be at this point.

Now, can they survive all of these road games like the back to backs in the Mountain West Conference through conference season and if they look to run the table in the regular season.


Is the question really can they just run the table and go undefeated?

I think it's absolutely possible because below them… it is a weak field in this conference. It's… potentially the weakest the Mountain West has ever been. They played Utah State earlier this week and a lot of people would tell you that the Aggies are the second best team in the conference. It was a bloodbath and they killed them 72 to 49. It was never a close game.

Support comes from

To go undefeated in conference play or to run the table any year in college basketball for any team, it just simply is not easy. It doesn't matter how weak your conference might be. So, if they actually stumbled against [Fresno or Boise] on the road, I would not be completely stunned. But if they also went out and they enter the tournament at 34 and 0, it's not going to be a surprise either.


Is it now just a matter of what seed they'll end up having [in the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament] could they be possibly one of the No. 1 from the West?

They have to have a lot of things go their way but if they do finish the regular season undefeated. Win the West Conference Championship and if they are 34 and 0. Let's say Gonzaga maybe loses the West Coast Conference… if they have a couple more losses or don't win their conference championship and then some of the teams at the very top of the country stumble in conference tournament time or have some bad losses down the stretch I would not completely rule out a 1 seed. But I think as of right now it is a really good bet for Nevada to be a 2 seed come tournament time and quite frankly they will have earned it at that point.


The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels are 7 and 6. What is going on with this team this season?

What you see is what you get. They didn't have high expectations. So, this is about pretty much where I think level-headed Rebel fans would kind of think the team is going to be this year - just barely floating above 500.

So, I don't think people really expected them to be 12 and 1 at this point or anything close to that. So, seven and six if you would've told me again before the season started that's the record I would not have batted an eye.

It's a bad program right now. You can't give away tickets to the Thomas & Mack to go watch him play. They're in pretty bad shape for the third consecutive year now and to me it's going to continue like that for the near future.


Do you think Marvin Menzies makes it through his entire five-year contract or could UNLV cut him loose?

The rumors are now floating out there that could be [UNLV] be in the mix for Rick Pitino again. He's coaching over in Greece but I know that [he] would love to and he knows Marvin Menzies extremely well. So, would that be a possibility? Would he actually do that to his friend? He's also Rick Pitino so he's kind of a scumbag. He could just kick his friend the door if he wanted to. And after what he went through at Louisville, the asking price for him to come back into the college ranks would be much less than what it was.

Do they want to have that talk again? Where three years in, if they think Marvin is not going to be the guy, and if they would have a chance to go and get a guy like Rick Pitino, then make it happen.

You have to have a guy in here to make it relevant again. And you know Marvin Menzies is a nice guy. Is he the guy to do it? I would absolutely say no. And would Rick Pitino be that guy? Yes because he can turn a bottom feeder program into a national story in less than a year. So, if that can actually happen and it might be completely far-fetched I don't think it is. But if you can make it happen - go do it.


Do you think the playoffs are still a realistic opportunity the Vegas Golden Knights?  

They've turned it around – absolutely. Talk to me six weeks ago… [I might have said no] the Western Conference is pretty good. So, credit to them and for a playoff push. Right now, they've been red hot. One of the best teams in hockey and it seems to be like they found that out form from a year ago. Fans are fans this can be like that here in Las Vegas.

It can be like that in any city, especially when they gave us one of the best stories of all time last year the expectations are going to be completely unrealistic.


There was talk before the college football season started the UNLV could make a bowl game this year. That did not happen. But Nevada did make to a bowl game and won. What does UNLV need to do next season and is UNR set for the future?

I would think so. The turnaround here from their head coach over a couple of years I think has been brilliant. So, it's always been a pretty solid football program and I don't even know if solid gives that team and the university enough credit but it absolutely looks to me like they've got the right guy in place and it can only go up from here.  


Is Tony Sanchez going to be the one leading the team out onto the field at the new Raiders Stadium or will he be will have he been replaced by that point?

To answer that question, I honestly would need to know the record in 2019. If you told me that they win four games this year, I would say probably not. Another substandard year, you're not going to make a bowl game, the university would probably move on.

But if you told me that they are bowl eligible and win six or seven games then I would say absolutely he's going to be the coach.


The Las Vegas Raiders were not great this season at all four wins 12 losses. They fired Reggie McKenzie who was the general manager. They've hired Mike Mayock from NFL Network to take that job.

It's going to be his first ever draft. I want to see if Gruden is going to be hands on or hands off at all because over the years there in Tampa his picks were dreadful and Mike Mayock has ever never done this before. I actually don't mind the hiring Mayock. Why not take a chance? He's a tireless worker. From what I understand.

A very good guy. So, I actually do like the combination.



The Wildcard Games:

The L.A. Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens:

I think getting a chance to already play Lamar Jackson and that team offensively. I think will have the defense ready to go. So, I do like the Chargers


Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears:

I think the Bears [will] win a close game. To me, their defense has been better at home than it has been on the road. I like the Eagles plus the points. I think they'll play a very close game, but the Bears pull a close one at the end


Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans in Houston:

I think the Colts are a better team at this point. I know the Texans rattled off nine straight throughout the season. I just I like this Colts team. I think they'll win, advance and play Kansas City.


Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys:

This is the toughest game for me to pick on the entire board. I can make a case for both teams. It's a coin flip to me. I would lean Seahawks but I do not have a strong opinion on that game whatsoever.



Mitch Moss, VSIN

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