The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks and Arizona Wildcats meet for an interstate clash at McKale Center on the campus of the University of Arizona. Arizona has already played a couple of games, while Northern Arizona is opening up their 2020-21 campaign on Monday night.
They receive a rematch against Arizona following a beatdown last year. The Wildcats pounded the Lumberjacks for a final score of 91-52. It was not a competitive game, as the upset bid by Northern Arizona was spoiled quickly.
Arizona put a chokehold on Northern Arizona early. They led the contest by a score of 44-22 going into the half. The game was essentially over at that point, but Arizona poured it on some more to embarrass Northern Arizona for a win by more than 40 points.
The Wildcats advanced to 2-0 on the season with the victory. They ultimately won 19 more games to finish with a record of 21-11. We don’t know anything beyond that because the season was closed before a conclusion.
The Wildcats opened this season against Grambling State on November 27. That was a textbook win for Arizona, as they pulled away for a comfortable 74-55 victory. It was an easy win, though the Wildcats didn’t look as dominant as last season. That much was evident in their most recent outing on Saturday. Arizona needed to comeback in the second half to avoid an upset at home.
Eastern Washington gave Arizona all that they could handle. The 0-2 Eagles had a 43-38 lead at halftime, but failed to hold on. Arizona outscored Eastern Washington, 31-24, in the second to steal a 70-67 win in the desert. The Wildcats are going to have to prove themselves if they want to move into the Top 25.
They’re down talent from a season ago, so are trying to figure out an identity at the moment. Northern Arizona stands a much better chance of pulling off the upset in this meeting than last year. However, it’s still going to require a really strong effort. Head below for our free Northern Arizona vs. Arizona pick for December 7, 2020.
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks vs. Arizona Wildcats NCAAM Betting Odds:
Northern Arizona vs. Arizona Prediction:
Comparing the Northern Arizona and Arizona matchup from last year to this season is apples to oranges. Arizona had to replace their entire starting unit in 2020. That from a team who scored 76.4 points per game for 41st in the country.
Losing either Zeke Nnaji or Nico Mannion would have been bad enough, but Nnaji and Mannion both left for the NBA this past year, and both were selected in the draft. Nnaji went in the first round to the Denver Nuggets with the 22nd pick. Conversely, Mannion was a second round selection by the Golden State Warriors at pick No. 48.
That leaves a gaping hole in the Arizona offense. Nnaji averaged 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, while Mannion scored 14 points and 5.3 assists per game. So if you think the Wildcats have looked different this season, there is a good reason why they haven’t looked as dominant through two games.
Along with Nnaji and Mannion off the floor, their three other starters are gone, too. Northern Arizona does get some talent back, including a couple of guards who should be able to contribute in the 2020-21 campaign. I’m not overly enthused about a straight up win for Northern Arizona here, but they should be able to make this more competitive than last year. The Wildcats are still trying to gel with a new starting lineup right now. I would take the points here.