By Eric Uribe

How far has the Wolf Pack’s men’s basketball program fallen since its four-year NCAA Tournament run from 2004-2007?

A lot if you’re judging by postseason invites.

After a one-and-done appearance in the Mountain West Tournament, Nevada had high hopes of reaching one of the four postseason tournaments.

Those hopes came crashing down last week when the Wolf Pack got zero invites.

Between the NCAA Tournament (68 teams), National Invitation Tournament (32 teams), The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (32 teams) and College Basketball Invitational (16 teams), a whopping 148 teams play in the postseason.

With 351 Division I programs across the country, 42 percent earn a postseason berth.

So what does that say about the state of Nevada’s program when it isn’t one of those 148 teams?

For one, it illustrates the enormous drop off from a mere seven years ago. From being one of the 64 best teams in the country then, to not even being near the top half of basketball programs now.

We’ve heard the Wolf Pack’s multi-million dollar excuse for its mediocrity over and over: lack of funding. Nevada doesn’t have the money to match its MWC counterparts, nor do they have top-notch facilities to lure talented players to coming to Reno. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all valid excuses.

However, those excuses are nothing new. They’ve had this problem for decades. And did that stop them between 2004-2007? No. So why settle now?

Obviously the big difference between now and then is the conference the Wolf Pack plays in. In its former home in the Western Athletic Conference, it was easier to get by with a penny-pinching budget. They can’t afford to do the same in the MWC with powerhouses like New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV.

But that only magnifies Nevada’s success during those glory years. How crazy is it for a tiny mid-major to go dancing four consecutive years? The margin for error was slim in the WAC. If you don’t win your conference title, a NCAA Tournament bid is almost out of the question based off strength of schedule.

And how much crazier is it that they didn’t just get invited to the NCAA Tournament, but made some noise, winning four tournament games in that span?

The Wolf Pack maximized every ounce of potential during that four-year period. And realistically, it’ll be tough to match those glory years.

But for a program not far removed from such lofty success, the baseline expectation should be at least an NIT appearance, little less the CIT or CBI.

Sure Nevada made big strides this season from a year ago. But it still wasn’t enough to call this a successful campaign.

If you’re not one of the top 148 teams in the country, you’re mediocre at best. I don’t know about you, but mediocrity isn’t success to me.

Especially not for a program with such a rich decade of history like the Wolf Pack.

Eric Uribe can be reached at euribe@sagebrush.unr.edu.