Reno’s playoff probability took a nose dive in late June.
The remnants of a nine-game division lead evaporated on Friday in a rain-shorted 10-5 loss at Colorado Springs. With the defeat, Reno fell into a first-place tie with Fresno. It was the first time since May 26 the Aces didn’t hold the Pacific Northern Division lead outright.
Jerry Narron turned Gregg Gross’ squad hasn’t folded.
The Sky Sox are incredibly difficult to beat at home and the Aces responded with a come-back 12-8 win on Saturday followed with a narrow 7-6 win on Sunday heading into Monday’s series finale.
Reno locked up at least a series a split with the two victories and became just the fourth team this season to go to Colorado Springs and not drop the series. The Sky Sox had won nine of their 12 home series with one split before hosting Reno.
Colorado Springs still owns the best home record in the Pacific Coast League (33-15) and Reno is still in first place. For now.
Never too early (or late?) to talk Nevada hoops
Sports Illustrated released it Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings last week, and that would rarely register for the Nevada faithful.
However, the Wolf Pack is “scheduled” to play a pair of Big 12 programs this coming season. The game against TCU at the Staples Center on Dec. 8 as part of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Classic has already been confirmed. A road game against Texas Tech is yet to be solidified after first being reported by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.
Sports Illustrated put TCU at No. 5 in the 10-team Big 12, and Texas Tech at No. 7. Iowa State, which bounced Nevada from the NCAA Tournament in March, came in at No. 9 after graduating a monster senior class led by Monte Morris. Morris was a second-round draft pick by Denver.
The addition of TCU and Texas Tech to the slate is one-part welcomed, one-part necessary, for a program that had a non-conference strength of schedule ranked 142nd in the country last year.
TCU is coming off a 24-15 campaign that ended with an NIT title in Jamie Dixon’s first season. Nevada fans know a little about winning a postseason tournament in a coach’s first season and what it could mean for year No. 2. The Horned Frogs have not made the NCAA Tournament since 1998, but have legitimate aspirations in 2017-18.
Texas Tech will also be led by a second-year coach in Chris Beard, who was the head man at UNLV for a couple nights last offseason. His arrival and quick departure expedited now-former Athletic Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy’s departure. The Red Raiders went 18-14 in Beard’s inaugural campaign and bring back a strong nucleus.
Both squads are unproven, but adding a couple power five opponents from a conference that sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament a season ago provides multiple opportunities for those ‘quality wins’ the Selection Committee loves so much.
OJ granted parole
Did you hear that OJ Simpson was granted his parole last week after nine years at Lovelock Correctional Center?
Oh, you did? So did everyone else.
It’s a tired story. He’s 70 years old. There’s my OJ take.
Several other local media outlets have decided to take the story and run with it. They can have it.
Much more importantly, Lovelock got its 15 minutes of fame. ‘Lovelock, Nevada – OJ Simpson lived here once’ t-shirts coming to a store near you.
Nathan can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ was named the best column in the state of Nevada (community division) by the Nevada Press Association. It runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning. Nathan’s weekly radio show airs Fridays at noon on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM.