Tag Archives: mid-major

Vandal Nation Live in Reno: (7) Idaho at (2) Nevada

11 Mar

RENO, Nev. — It’s a tough challenge, being the No. 7 seed facing off against a No. 2 seed. It’s even tougher when you’re playing the No. 2 seed on their own home floor.

That’s the task facing the Idaho Vandals tonight in the Lawlor Events Center, as they square off against the Nevada Wolf Pack in a Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal. The winner goes on to the WAC Tournament semifinals tomorrow.

Don Verlin’s squad has struggled to find consistency this year, as chemistry and mental lapses cost the Vandals valuable victories. Idaho’s season, which started so promisingly with an upset of Utah in Salt Lake City, now comes down to this game. Win, and the dream is alive. Lose, and it’s back to Moscow for the long wait until November.

Can the Vandals pull off the improbable bracket upset? Join us, live from courtside, and find out.

Complete pregame coverage begins at 5:30 p.m., with tipoff at 6.

Click here for Vandal Nation Live commentary, analysis and chat!

Good Afternoon Vandal Nation: WAC Tournament Day 2

11 Mar

RENO, Nev. — We’re back in the Lawlor Events Center for the second day of quarterfinal action in the 2010 Western Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament.

The bracket for the men’s quarterfinals looks like this:

(1) Utah State vs. (8) Boise State — noon

(4) Louisiana Tech vs. (5) Fresno State — 2:30 p.m.

(2) Nevada vs. (7) Idaho — 6 p.m.

(3) New Mexico State vs. (6) San Jose State — 8:30 p.m.

We’ll have complete liveblog coverage of the Vandals/Wolf Pack showdown, with pregame analysis starting at 5:30 p.m., tip at 6.

The winners will play Friday in the semifinals, with the 1/8 and 4/5 winners squaring off in one matchup, the 2/7 and 3/6 winners in the other.

Yesterday, Idaho’s women made history, becoming the first Vandal team to reach the semifinals in any WAC basketball tournament since Idaho joined the conference in 2005. They defeated New Mexico State, 75-63, and will play the No. 1 seeded Fresno State Bulldogs on Friday at noon.

Men’s basketball

  • Follow us on Twitter — @VandalNation — for live courtside scoring updates throughout the WAC Tournament.
  • The Spokesman-Review’s Josh Wright has a game preview of this evening’s Idaho/Nevada showdown.
  • Idaho’s “sneaky” squad could pose a threat to the Wolf Pack’s NCAA Tournament hopes — at least, so says the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Chris Murray.

Monson’s homecoming spoils Idaho’s BracketBuster hopes

20 Feb

Dan Monson came back to his alma mater this week, and a sweet homecoming it was for the son of legendary Idaho coach Don Monson. Unfortunately for the Idaho Vandals, Dan was coaching their opponent.

In an ESPNU BracketBusters non-conference showdown, Long Beach State pretty well dominated Idaho from start to finish, coming away with a 77-66 victory in the Cowan Spectrum. Turnovers, missed field goals and porous defense characterized the Vandals’ play, and only a 13-point, 14-rebound night from Marvin Jefferson kept things interesting for the home team.

“(Long Beach) beat us in every aspect of the game,” Idaho coach Don Verlin admitted.

As well as the Vandals (13-13, 4-8 WAC) played Thursday against Seattle, they played just as badly tonight — continuing a theme for this season, in that the only thing consistent about Idaho’s performances has been their inconsistency. Mac Hopson led the team in scoring with 15 points, but didn’t make a bucket until the game’s final 67 seconds and finished an awful 2-for-9 from the field, 0-for-3 from downtown. Hopson and several other starters sat on the bench for long stretches of the game in favor of some of the Vandals’ younger guns. Verlin made no bones about his displeasure with the performance of his seniors.

“I’m very disappointed in my seniors’ effort — except Marvin Jefferson, he played his tail off,” Verlin said. “The seniors have to lead this team, and I don’t think they had their team ready to play. We’re two years into this deal and our senior leadership has to show itself. It didn’t tonight.”

The 49ers (13-14) took advantage of nearly every Idaho mistake, converting 16 Vandal turnovers into 21 points, including an 8-0 edge in fastbreak scoring. It would be that old ball-handling bugaboo that ultimately doomed the home team’s hopes.

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Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Long Beach State

20 Feb

Idaho’s women opened up today’s hoops doubleheader with a thrilling, nail-biting 60-59 win over New Mexico State. Now it’s the men’s turn!

It’s the annual ESPNU BracketBusters non-conference showdown, as Long Beach State travels to Moscow to take on the Vandals. No, it won’t count in the WAC standings, but a victory this afternoon would help Idaho mightily in the quest for a second consecutive winning season.

The 49ers are led by coach Dan Monson, a Moscow High and University of Idaho graduate and son of Vandal coaching legend Don Monson. It’s an old-school Big West rivalry renewed, too. Both of these teams were picked to be near the top of their league, but have struggled to meet expectations. Who’ll come out on top? Join us and find out.

We’ll have pregame coverage starting at 5:15 p.m., tip at 5:30

Click here for Vandal Nation Live commentary, analysis and chat!

Vandals hold Garcia in check, complete Seattle sweep

18 Feb

Seattle RedHawks center Charles Garcia has been called one of the best players on the West Coast, with a dominating inside game based on unstoppable post moves. But tonight it was the homestanding Idaho Vandals who owned the paint — Garcia notwithstanding.

Holding off repeated RedHawks charges down the stretch, Idaho (13-12, 4-8 Western Athletic Conference) captured an 82-72 victory over Seattle (13-14) in the Cowan Spectrum, giving the Vandals their first winning record since early January. With just five games remaining in the regular season, every win is precious for an Idaho team trying to claw its way back into the postseason conversation. In the teams’ previous meeting this season, on Jan. 30, the Vandals took down the RedHawks in KeyArena, 87-85.

Idaho’s starting inside duo, Marvin Jefferson and Luiz Toledo, combined for 26 points and shot .750 from the floor, contributing mightily to the Vandals’ 44-30 edge on points in the paint. They collectively held Garcia to 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting, well below his average. Meanwhile, Kashif Watson juked and slashed his way to 20 points on a .750 field-goal percentage of his own.

“Coach has been preaching all along that the seniors are going to lead this team in February and March, and it was a night for me and Marvin to step up and have a big game,” Watson said. “The way we played tonight fits my style, getting up and down in transition and converting the easy opportunities.”

As a team, the Vandals shot 57 percent from the field while holding the RedHawks to just 38 percent. Unusually, Idaho hit just one 3-pointer all night on only six attempts, nearly a season-low. Clearly, coach Don Verlin instructed his team to eschew the quick jump-shot in favor of driving the lane and pounding Seattle in the paint.

The fast-paced battle was a pitched, back-and-forth affair for the opening 11 minutes, as the lead swapped back and forth seven times in that span with no team drawing more than a three-point advantage. But the RedHawks’ third-leading scorer, Cervante Burrell, was whistled for three personal fouls in 14 seconds — from 17:57 to 17:43 — and spent the rest of the half on the bench. That might well come back to haunt Seattle coach Cameron Dollar, as Burrell fouled out late in the second half and finished with zero points and one rebound.

Though he was relatively quiet the rest of the night, it was Luciano de Souza who would break the logjam and give Idaho the lead for good with a textbook top-of-the-key 3-pointer. His nothing-but-net jumper gave the home team a one-point edge with eight-and-a-half minutes remaining and ignited the small but vocal crowd of 1,287. Seemingly feeding off that energy, the Vandals closed the half on a 22-10 run, punctuated by dunks from Watson, Jefferson and Kyle Barone, and took a 38-28 lead into the locker room.

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Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Seattle

18 Feb

It’s BracketBusters week in Moscow, and the Vandals’ final pair of non-conference battles are on tap. First, the Seattle RedHawks visit the Cowan Spectrum tonight. The RedHawks are a transitional Division I team that will look to avenge a home loss at the hands of Idaho earlier this season. On Saturday, Dan Monson’s Long Beach State 49ers come to town for the ESPNU BracketBusters matchup.

For the Vandals, this pair of games is key to securing the potential of a second consecutive winning season. Sweep the week at home and the prospects for finishing above .500 get much brighter.

The star of the RedHawks, all-everything stud Charles Garcia, gave Idaho fits last time in Seattle. Big-time scorers have stepped up big against the Vandals time and again, as Don Verlin’s defense has had trouble containing playmakers. Will Marvin Jefferson, Luiz Toledo or Kyle Barone be able to slow him down? Will Kashif Watson’s foot injury keep him from being 100%? Can Idaho snap out of its home-court funk? Find out, tonight.

We’ll have Vandal Nation Live complete courtside coverage, with pregame at 6:30 p.m., tip at 7.

Click here for live commentary, analysis and chat!

Nevada 67, Idaho 66

11 Feb

Heartbreak.

The Idaho Vandals closed up a 16-point deficit to lead Nevada with just seconds to play, but an Armon Johnson layup-and-one gave the visiting Wolf Pack a 67-66 victory.

We’ll have a postgame wrap this afternoon, but for now, here’s raw video from an angry Don Verlin and a disappointed Jeff Ledbetter.

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