Scouting Report: NAU

Scouting Report: NAU

The Wildcats begin the 2003-04 season by playing host to NAU. The team from up north gave the Cats fits for a half last season but could be hard pressed to do so again this season. Arizona wants to prove that there is life after Gardner, Walton and Anderson and a big game to open the season would be a nice start.

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (1-0) vs. Arizona Wildcats (0-0)
Date: Monday, Nov. 24, 2003
Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

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NAU at a glance
Coach: Mike Adras (64-52, 4 years) Starters returning: 4 2002-03 Record: 15-13 Series Record: Arizona leads 86-27 Last Meeting: The Wildcats used a big second half to put away the scrappy Lumberjacks 101-66.

LAST TIME OUT:Arizona is playing its first game of the season. NAU is coming off a 77-60 win over Cal State Fullerton on Friday night.

OVERVIEW:
The Cats are a vastly superior team to the Lumberjacks and should win this game. However, you can never count NAU out. They played Arizona tough for a half last year and pulled off an upset against UCLA a few weeks later.

Mike Adras took his team on a tour of Mexico before the start of the school year and learned that his team. One thing is certain, Adras' teams can always shoot the ball and that will be a key to the Lumberjacks success. For NAU to have a chance at the upset, they must be unconscious from behind the arc. If NAU can consistently knock down their three-point shots, they can with the Cats.P> "They play hard, they're disciplined and they can shoot the ball," said Wildcat assistant Josh Pastner.

However, getting their shots off could be a major difficulty for the visitors. The Wildcat perimeter players are all long, fast and athletic. NAU simply doesn't have the athleticism the Wildcats have on the outside. With athletes like Andre Iguodala, Mustafa Shakur and Chris Rodgers, the Lumberjacks could be in for a rude awakening. Expect them to run a number of set plays to try and free up their shooters.

NAU is a very experienced team with eight returning lettermen, four of which are starters. This is a team that played tough for a half against Arizona last year, took New Mexico to the wire in The Pit and beat UCLA in Pauley Pavilion.

NAU'S STRENGTHS: The Lumberjacks have a solid frontline, including two seven-footers. They shoot over 45% from the field and almost 39% from behind the arc.

NAU's WEAKNESSES: The Lumberjacks shoot well, but have a lot of other questions in the backcourt. The point guard position could really be a worry.

BEST PLAYER: Kelly Golob is one of the best players in the Big Sky. The 6-5 sophomore can score inside and out. He could struggle with Iguodala guarding him, but could still have a good game.

THE MATCH-UPS

ARIZONA

NORTHERN ARIZONA
Center

Frye is just too good

Power Forward

Both Fox and Adams are superior

Small Forward

Gollob is good, Iguodala is better

Shooting Guard

Stoudamire can flat out score.

Point Guard

Shakur is no ordinary frosh.

Coach

Adras is one of the Big Sky's best. Olson is a Hall of Famer.

OUTLOOK: NAU is a good small conference team, but aren't in the Wildcats' class. They may be able to hang around for a little while, but a win would be an upset of monumental proportions. Realistically the Wildcats are just too fast, too quick and too athletic.

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