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Northern Arizona Game Preview & How to Watch

Can Washington rebound after a dismal first effort this season?

NCAA Basketball: Northern Arizona at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Thursday, 11/11/21

Tip-Off Time: 7:30 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks


Radio: KJR 1090 AM/KVI 570 (Kraken game at the same time will be on the normal 950)

Location: Seattle, Washington

DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies -16

Northern Arizona 2021-22 Statistics:

Record: 0-1 (loss @Arizona)

Points For per Game: 52.0 ppg

Points Against per Game: 81.0 ppg

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 91.4 (328th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 106.6 (322nd)

Strength of Schedule: 35th

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Key Players:

G-Jalen Cone, So. 5’11, 175: 7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 27.3% FG, 20.0% 3pt, 0.0% FT

It was rough start to the season on Tuesday for the former Virginia Tech Hokie. While with Tech he was your traditional 3-pt sniper and is a career 40.6% shooter from deep while attempting almost 75% of his shots from beyond the arc. His previous career high for turnovers in a game was 3 but he had 8 against Arizona as he played more on the ball than he did as a role player for Virginia Tech.

G- Mason Stark, Jr. 6’2, 170: 9.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 42.9% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 100.0% FT

Stark in his first D1 appearance had one of NAU’s better games in the season opener with 9 points on 7 shots plus 0 turnovers. Putting up 0 assists and 0 turnovers it seems a solid bet that he’s not likely to put the ball on the floor very often and is more of a catch and shoot player.

G- Isaiah Lewis, So. 6’6, 205: 0.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.0 FG%, 0.0% 3pt, 0.0% FT

Lewis was held scoreless against Arizona but last year averaged 4.1 points per game on 38.5% 3-pt shooting so he’s capable of hitting an outside shot. Turnovers have been a consistent problem for him and they flared up in the Lumberjacks’ season opener as he had 6 of them which is a new career high. Expect at least another 3 against Washington’s full court press defense they’ve shown can be effective against shaky ball handlers.

F- Nik Mains, Sr. 6’8, 205: 4.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 25.0% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 50.0% FT

Mains has been one of Northern Arizona’s best players in recent years and put up almost 9 points and 4 rebounds per game last season in just an average of 24 minutes. As a career 36.3% 3-pt shooter while standing 6’8 it’s not hard to envision him getting some open looks against the Washington zone.

C- Carson Towt, Fr. 6’7, 230: 11.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 36.4% FG, 42.9% FT

Towt was 5th on the team in minutes last year but has seemingly taken over along with Cone as one of the premier scorers for NAU as he took a team high 29.6% of shots while on the floor. Towt is definitely undersized as a 6’7 center but finished 3rd in the Big Sky in block % during conference play so he can still play some defense. He did a good job getting to the free throw line against Arizona drawing 7.2 fouls per 40 minutes which is a Noah Dickerson-like number.

The Outlook

On paper this should be an easy gimme for Washington but that’s how it looked on Tuesday night and we all saw what happened then. This will be the 2nd consecutive Pac-12 game for the Lumberjacks after they were handled quite easily by Arizona 81-52. Last season NAU finished 6-16 (4-10) and only went 1-15 against teams ranked in the top-215 at KenPom. They have brought in a Power 5 transfer from Virginia Tech in Jalen Cone but lost their alpha dog do everything star in Cameron Shelton (19.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.2 apg) from that team.

I said about the Northern Illinois game that it was all about Washington rather than their opponent. I feel similarly about this one. On Tuesday night the Huskies had one of the worst shooting performances you’ll ever see. They shot worse from both 2-pt and 3-pt range than the worst team in the country in each respective category. They were only a few percentage points away from the same distinction from the free throw line. This can be a very bad offensive unit and still see dramatic improvement. If we see a repeat performance tonight it likely speaks more to where the team is mentally than their true skill level.

Against Arizona, NAU turned the ball over 21 times and only forced 6 on the defensive end. Backup Wildcat center Oumar Ballo had 9 rebounds in 10 minutes who probably most closely resembles Nate Roberts physically on their roster. Between the turnovers and rebounds Arizona took 16 more shots than NAU after UW took 27 more shots than NIU. Once again I expect the Huskies to get plenty more looks at the rim than their opponent and so if they can put up even a merely bad instead of putrid offensive performance then it should be good enough.

It’s absolutely possible that Washington comes out motivated after the embarrassment of Tuesday night and completely blows out Northern Arizona. However given the way that game turned out there’s no way I can predict the Dawgs to cover until I see evidence that the NIU game was closer to a complete off night than it was the norm


Washington Huskies- 70, Northern Arizona Lumberjacks- 65