Pack Faces Michigan State in NCAA Tournament

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Nevada will make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1985 when it faces No. 7 seed Michigan State on Thursday in Seattle.

Nevada is the No. 10 seed in the St. Louis regional after winning the Western Athletic Conference championship.

"It's a dream come true to play in the NCAA Tournament," Nevada freshman center Nick Fazekas said. "I'm in the Big Dance and it's a big deal."

The Nevada-Michigan State winner will face the Gonzaga-Valparaiso winner on Saturday in Seattle. Kentucky is the top seed in the St. Louis regional.

It will be the first matchup ever between the Wolf Pack (23-8) and Spartans (18-11).

"It's just a credit to them," Nevada coach Trent Johnson said. "The reason I'm excited for these guys is they bought in and did a heck of a job battling all year long."

WAC runnerup UTEP (24-7) also made the tournament as the No. 13 seed against Maryland in the Phoenix regional.

Nevada defeated UTEP, 66-60, on Saturday night in Fresno, Calif., for the WAC title and its seventh straight win. Nevada also has won 10 of its last 11 games and 14 of its last 16.

Nevada defeated two other teams in the tournament - Kansas (21-8) and Vermont (22-8).

Nevada lost to North Carolina State in the first round of the 1985 tournament.

Nevada guard-forward Kirk Snyder, the WAC's player of the year, has said he'll decide after the season whether to come out early for the NBA draft. He's projected as a first- or early second-round NBA pick.

"I'm trying to finish out the school year. That's all I'm trying to do right now," Snyder told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "I'm just trying to win and get to the next level."

Michigan State led the Big Ten in field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and scoring offense.

"They're well coached and very physical," Johnson said. "The bottom line is to do what we're capable of doing and we should have a chance."