The Nevada Wolf Pack (28-6) and Stanford Cardinal (23-11) will meet up Wednesday night in the NIT quarterfinals inside Maples Pavilion in Stanford, CA.
Nevada Wolf Pack at Stanford Cardinal
Nevada has won six of its last seven games heading into this contest against a Pac-12 Conference opponent, including victories over Oral Roberts and Bucknell in the first two rounds of this event. The Wolf Pack captured the WAC regular-season championship, but dropped a 78-73 decision in the conference tournament, which knocked them out of contention to reach the 2012 NCAA tournament. The program is 9-20 all-time against Stanford and will look to snap a five-game losing streak in the series. Nevada is 9-1 ATS as an underdog this year and 4-0 ATS in NIT games the past two-plus seasons.
The Wolf Pack have four starters that average in double figures, with sophomore guard Deonte Burton leading the way in scoring 14.8 points per game. He followed his 2011 WAC Freshman of the Year honor by becoming the fourth player in program histor to earn postseason WAC Player of the Year honors. Nevada is making its fifth appearance in this tournament, posting a 5-4 record in the event. The team has started the same lineup all season and all five were recognized by conference coaches by earning postseason honors.
Stanford has reached this point with home victories over Cleveland State and Illinois State, which is a bit surprising due to coming into the event with an 0-4 combined record against three teams that made up the original field. “Every game that we play is big for our kids,” commented Cardinal head coach Johnny Dawkins. He can only hope that the program draws more fans for this affair, as the first two rounds attracted just 3,120 combined fans to tonight’s venue. Stanford is 8-1 ATS versus WAC opponents.
The Cardinal and Wolf Pack shared four common opponents this year, with tonight’s visitor going 5-0 in those contests and the host going 4-1 against that group. Stanford has registered a solid 9-4 record in six NIT appearances and is 32-20 all-time in making 23 postseason appearances. The team’s next victory would establish a school record for most home wins in a season and would also give it the most wins overall since the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 run in 2008.
Bettors will likely back the Cardinal due to their 27-12 ATS mark at home versus winning road teams, while the Wolf Pack are 5-5 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points.
Recommendation: Stanford Cardinal -6
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