Last Tournament appearance: 2018 (Lost to Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet Sixteen)
Points scored per game: 88.0 (12 of 353)
Points allowed per game: 68.0 (99 of 353)
Strength of schedule: 2.73 (98 of 353)
The Nevada Wolf Pack looked to be on their way to a cinderella run last March after they beat Texas in overtime and upset the two-seed Cincinnati. Unfortunately, they met the true cinderella of the 2018 tournament in Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet Sixteen.
This year head coach Eric Musselman’s team came into the season with high expectations. The entire starting lineup of Caleb and Cody Martin, Jordan Caroline, Trey Porter and Tre’Shawn Thurman are all seniors. They also have talent on the bench with junior guard Jazz Johnson, a transfer from Portland, scoring 12.3 points per game and highly touted freshman Jordan Brown.
Caleb Martin leads the 12th highest scoring team in the nation, averaging nearly 20 points per game. His twin brother, Cody puts up a stat line of 10/4/6, as the two work hand-and-hand with each other.
“The Martin twins, I’ve watched a lot of film on them, they really compliment each other like you would imagine twins would,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. “Their skill sets work really well together — one guy can really score it and the other guy is a really terrific passer and has a good mind for the game.”
Both the Wolf Pack and Sun Devils score in the high-80s on average, but Nevada is led by an experience group, while the Sun Devils have a few freshmen and underclassmen at the forefront. Sophomore guard Remy Martin in a year went from a freshman spark off the bench to a veteran leader. He offered his advice to his developing star teammate freshman guard Luguentz Dort about the top 20 matchup on Friday.
“Play your game,” Martin said. “At the end of the day, it’s just basketball. You want to go out there and we’ve been playing this our whole lives so just because the arena changes and the atmosphere changes don’t mean your play changes. Lu’s been having a great season, just continue to be him and everything will be itself.”
On Martin’s health, he said he’s back. That’ll give the Sun Devils a true point guard again as Dort, a combo guard and the Swiss Army knife Zylan Cheatman attempted to fill the role in Martin’s absence. Hurley called Rob Edwards and Mickey Mitchell, ‘limited participants’ at practice on Wednesday. It seemed as Edwards had a better shot to play than Mitchell, but neither sounded like a high chance.
Tipoff against Nevada will be at 10 p.m. Arizona time and the game can be seen on ESPN2.