N. Arizona faces Sac State in Big Sky tourney
No. 9 seed Sacramento State (14-15, 8-12) vs. No. 8 seed Northern Arizona (10-20, 8-12)
Big Sky Conference Tourney First Round, CenturyLink Arena, Boise, Idaho; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. EDT
BOTTOM LINE: Sacramento State and Northern Arizona are set to do battle in the opening round of the Big Sky tournament. The teams split the regular season series at one win apiece. The teams last played each other on Feb. 16, when the Lumberjacks outshot Sacramento State 57.4 percent to 46 percent and hit five more 3-pointers en route to a 78-66 victory.
BIG MEN ON CAMPUS: Northern Arizona’s Bernie Andre has averaged 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds while Carlos Hines has put up 12.9 points and four assists. For the Hornets, Marcus Graves has averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists while Joshua Patton has put up 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds.
FACILITATING THE OFFENSE: Graves has made or assisted on 46 percent of all Sacramento State field goals over the last five games. Graves has accounted for 20 field goals and 33 assists in those games.
WINLESS WHEN: Northern Arizona is 0-13 this year when it scores 73 points or fewer and 10-7 when it scores at least 74.
ACCOUNTING FOR ASSISTS: The Hornets have recently converted buckets via assists more often than the Lumberjacks. Northern Arizona has an assist on 38 of 79 field goals (48.1 percent) over its previous three matchups while Sacramento State has assists on 51 of 78 field goals (65.4 percent) during its past three games.
STINGY STATE: Sacramento State has forced opponents into committing turnovers on 22.2 percent of all possessions, the highest rate among all Big Sky teams.