Can the Pack Come Back?

Can the Pack Come Back?

Nevada made the NCAA Tournament four years in a row between 2004 and 2007. It was largely Nick Fazekas that spurred that success, but since then the victories have been harder to come by. It seems like long ago that Nevada went to the Sweet Sixteen in 2004 and was ranked in the top ten in 2007. Those days are gone. The question is, can Nevada can return to their former glory?

Looking back at the history of the program, there has only been two stretches of major success for the Wolf Pack. Besides the four NCAA appearances in the mid 2000’s, Nevada has made just two other trips to the big dance. And those were so long ago that the players wore shorts similar to that of Lieutenant Jim Dangle…which means a long time ago and, in this case, 1984 and 1985.

Two coaches have turned their success at Nevada into jobs at bigger programs and that has left some questions around the program. Coach Trent Johnson left in 2004 after the Sweet Sixteen run for the head job at Stanford and his replacement, Mark Fox, left in 2009 to lead the Bulldogs of Georgia. Coach David Carter had some immediate success in 2009-2010, but last season went very poorly.

Coach Carter should be a good fit for the Wolf Pack in the long run, but a couple bad years can set a program like Nevada back for quite some time. To make matters worse, Nevada is leaving the Western Athletic Conference for the Mountain West. That will make the school some football money, but what does it mean for the basketball team? With some solid, entrenched programs in the Mountain West like UNLV and New Mexico, Nevada has some work to do. The football team will be fine in the long run, but the basketball program will not be able to keep up with the Rebels and Lobos year in and year out anytime soon. Hopefully, that does not mean the Wolf Pack will have to wait another two decades or so between NCAA Tournament appearances.

Read the in-depth men's basketball preview of this team