It may have appeared that Nevada nearly stormed back into a game like they did last year, but all they did was manage to tie Florida 33-33 in the second half. It made for a compelling game to watch, but somehow the Wolfpack never really challenged despite having some of the best athletes on the floor and an inarguable level of talent. Why? Coaching.
As the game wound down, Nevada was playing their way back. They pulled back within two on a frantic comeback based on frenetic energy then... nothing. Eric Musselman never drew up a play, never called a set, never did much of anything other than yell, watch, and hope. As it turns out that isn’t a way to finish a comeback against a team that can actually play. Last year, Musselman had the fortune to come up against an equally hacky Mick Cronin in the tournament. This year, that wasn’t the case.
Cody Martin pulled Nevada within three with a layup with 4:03 to play. After that, the Wolfpack scored four points, all on free throws. With Florida unable to contain either Martin well off the dribble, Musselman put his team in a place to succeed by watching them shoot five three pointers. They took no other field goals. It was a succession of dribble into three pointers by guys who aren’t particularly good three point shooters. There wasn’t a timeout to run a set, not a called play, not anything. With his season on the line, Musselman stood and watched an undisciplined team do undisciplined things. In March, that gets you sent home.