Team preview: Rice

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 5:20 PM ET
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What Nevada couldn't avoid -- losing its coach and best player -- Rice did, giving the Owls a legitimate chance to win their only WAC title.

As part of a contingent heading to Conference USA by season's end, the Owls would like nothing better than to give the WAC a proper sendoff with their first NCAA bid since 1970.

The rival Wolf Pack advanced to the Sweet 16 last year before being eliminated by Georgia Tech. That was a blessing as well as a curse. Nevada star Kirk Snyder skipped his senior season and was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by Utah. The Jazz used the 16th pick overall, clearing the way for Rice's Michael Harris to be the WAC Player of the Year this time around.