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Muss And The Wolfpack

March 19, 2018 - 11:33 am

If the weekend had just been Loyola and everything else was chalk, it still would’ve been a great weekend. But it was so much more than that, thanks to Nevada and THE University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Let’s start with Nevada and let’s start on Friday night. The Wolfpack and Jungle legend Eric Musselman were down 9 to Texas at halftime, they fell even further behind in the second half and were down 14 at one point. Things were not looking good, but they dug deep, caught fire, came all the way back to tie it and then send it to overtime. And then fell behind by four in overtime, and then dug even deeper, and came out with an 87-83 win and the program’s first tournament win in more than a decade. That had to feel pretty good, right? Actually, it felt bleeping good, E Mus.

I’m not sure who was the bigger star on this team: Cody Martin, Caleb Martin, or Mariah Musselman, because Eric’s daughter is already a legend. Check out this interview with Pops.

That win over Texas earned them a matchup with the 2-seed, Cincinnati, yesterday. And that got off to a brutal, brutal start. The Bearcats were up 10-0 before Nevada even made their first basket. Cinci was too big, too quick, and they were hitting everything, and when they missed, they were killing the Wolfpack on the glass. It looked like Nevada wasn’t even going to make it to halftime.

You can throw in all your clichés about Cinderella’s slipper not fitting and the carriage breaking down, because the wheels were coming off that carriage in a big way. The Wolfpack were down 22 with 11 minutes left and at that point, it was nearly time to empty the bench, thank the seniors, and call it a night. But they didn’t.

As deep as they dug on Friday night, their shovels and pick axes were even stronger on Sunday. And their will was outstanding. They started chipping away and that 22-point lead got smaller and smaller and smaller. I’ve known Muss for decades. He is an absolute warrior and grinder; and the heart and passion that he has as a coach was there in his players as well last night. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team take on the characteristics of its coach more than the Wolfpack did last night.

And then, with 57 seconds left, Caleb Martin drained a three to tie it at 73. Incredible. And even more incredible, with ten seconds left, this happened.

They not only came all the way back to tie it, they took the lead. For the first time in the game. With just over 9 seconds left. Insane. And then closed it out to win 75-73, capping off the second-greatest comeback in NCAA tournament history. Down 22 and coming all the way back to win against the 2-seed. And a damn good 2-seed at that. The sixth best team in the country. That good.

And then in true Muss fashion and tradition, he ripped off his shirt and went shirtless into the locker room. Hell freaking yes. Incredible comeback. Incredible postgame interview. Incredible ride. And it continues. The Nevada Wolfpack are in the Sweet 16. And Muss and the Wolfpack are definitely living their best life ever.