LAS VEGAS — It’s all up to the selection committee now.
The Nevada basketball team, winners of 29 games and a share of the Mountain West regular-season title, will learn their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday, along with the 67 other teams announced during CBS’ annual selection show.
The Wolf Pack, 29-4 overall, was eliminated from the Mountain West’s conference tournament with a 65-56 loss Saturday against San Diego State.
Here’s a look at where Nevada stands heading into Selection Sunday and what it might expect when the field for the 2019 NCAA Tournament is announced:
In or out? With 29 wins, a NET ranking of 23, and after being ranked all season in both major national polls, Nevada will play in the NCAA Tournament, barring basically the biggest snub in the history of the event.
That’s not going to happen; Nevada is in.
NET: The Pack ranks No. 23 in the nation (through Friday’s games) in the NCAA’s new NET metric, a tool the tournament selection committee will use to evaluate and choose at-large berths for the tournament.
Nevada went 1-1 in Quad 1 games — defined as playing a top-30 team at home, a top-50 team at a neutral site or a top-75 team on the road — with both of those coming against Utah State. The Wolf Pack was also a solid 7-1 in Quad 2 games.
Overall, Nevada’s four losses were split between Q1 (at Utah State), Q2 (at San Diego State), and Q3 (at New Mexico and SDSU at the Mountain West Tournament).
Seeding: The national consensus — for what that is worth — shows that Nevada can expect a No. 6 or 7 regional seeding to begin the tournament. As of Saturday afternoon, the bracket-aggregation site BracketMatrix.com showed the Wolf Pack with an average seed of 6.4 and as a seventh seed overall. The site tracks 124 brackets, of varying quality.
At some of the more well-known national sites, Nevada was listed as a No. 6 seed (ESPN, FOX Sports and CBS Sports) and a No. 7 seed (USA Today).
The Pack was a No. 7 seed last season, when it went on to beat Texas and Cincinnati to reach the Sweet 16.
“I think our record speaks for itself; the body of work in non-conference, conference play,” Nevada head coach Eric Musselman said after Friday’s loss to San Diego State.
First-round site: Here’s where things become largely unknown. The selection committee does, historically, make some attempt to keep teams in geographic regions that make some sort of sense, but the committee’s overriding mandate is to evenly seed a field of 68 teams. That’s why situations such as Nevada playing games in Nashville and Atlanta as part of the South Region last season are not at all uncommon.
Nevada — the state — is obviously in the Western U.S., so Nevada — the team — can hold out some hope of being selected to play its opening games in San Jose or Salt Lake City. After that, there’s not much left that is close to Reno. The other six first- and second-round sites are Tulsa, Des Moines, Jacksonville, Hartford, Columbus (Ohio), and Columbia (S.C.).
The four regional sites hosting the final 16 survivors are Anaheim, Louisville, Kansas City, and Washington D.C.
What: Announcement of the 2019 NCAA Tournament Field
When: 3 p.m.
Notable: The Grande Exposition Hall inside the Silver Legacy Resort Casino will host a watch party; Nevada players and staff will be at the event. Doors open at 1 p.m.
For more on the Wolf Pack, college sports, and Reno’s baseball and soccer teams, follow the author at @RGJduke. Digital subscriptions to the Reno Gazette Journal begin at as little as $1 a month; click here for details.
Published 4:26 PM EDT Mar 16, 2019