2009-10 Opponent Preview: Nevada

As the 2009-10 season men’s basketball season approaches, BYUCougars.com continues to preview each of the Cougars’ opponents. Today’s preview-Nevada.

Game Preview

BYU will take on Nevada in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Classic on the Orleans Arena on Dec. 22. The Wolf Pack return three starters, including their top-two scorers from 2008-09, Luke Babbitt (16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Armon Johnson (15.5 ppg, 4.3 apg).

Season Outlook

Nevada was 21-13 overall and 11-5 in the Western Athletic Conference last season—good for second place. Head coach David Carter enters his first season at the helm, replacing Mark Fox, the new head coach at Georgia. Carter is in his 11th season with the Wolf Pack.

Sophomore forward Luke Babbitt is the leading returning scorer (16.9 ppg) and rebounder for Nevada (7.4 rpg). Junior Armon Johnson was second on the team in scoring last season (15.5) and first in assists (4.3). Both earned first-team All-WAC honors and Babbitt was named the WAC freshman of the year. Carter also welcomes the return of senior Brandon Fields, who averaged 9.4 ppg off the bench in 2008-09.

Player to Watch

Luke Babbitt, F, So., 6-9, 225

Babbitt returns to the Wolf Pack after posting one of the most decorated freshman seasons in Nevada history. He averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 boards while earning first-team All-WAC honors and being named WAC Freshman of the Year. A preseason candidate for the 2009-10 John R. Wooden Award, Babbitt set nearly every Nevada freshman record.

Other Key Players

Armon Johnson, G

Brandon Fields, G

Joey Shaw, F

Dario Hunt, F

Game Implications

The Cougars are 11-6 all-time against Nevada including 4-0 at neutral sites. BYU last played Nevada in 1995 and lost 79-77 in Reno. The winner of the BYU-Nevada matchup will play the winner of Nebraska-Tulsa on Dec. 23 in the championship of the Las Vegas Classic.

Wolf Pack at a Glance

Head Coach David Carter
At Nevada 1st year / 0-0
2008-09 Record 21-13 overall, 11-5 WAC
Home/Road/Neutral 13-8, 8-5, 0-0
Starters Ret/Lost 3/2
Lettermen Ret/Lost 8/4

2008-09 Team Stats

Points/Game 70.6
Points Allowed/Game 70.9
Field Goal % .427
Opponent FG % .419
Rebounds/Game 36.5
Assists/Game 12.0
Steals/Game 6.7
Blocks/Game 4.8

Returning Stat Leaders

Points/Game Luke Babbitt 16.9
Rebounds/Game Luke Babbitt, 7.4
Assists/Game Armon Johnson, 4.3
Steals Armon Johnson , 30
Blocks Dario Hunt, 67
Three-pointers Luke Babbitt, 33