#749 Northern Arizona +8 over Nebraska-Omaha 7:00 PM CT
After a strong 2016-17 season Nebraska-Omaha fell off a cliff last season finishing 9-22. The Mavericks were one of the worst defensive teams in the nation and didn’t shoot well enough to keep pace with its fast tempo. This year’s team hasn’t looked much more promising, allowing 104 points in the opener at Minnesota before beating division III Buena Vista on Friday. Laying points with the Mavericks is a big risk and this Friday Nebraska-Omaha has a prominent non-conference game with Colorado up next.
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Northern Arizona was just 5-27 last season but the Lumberjacks took on a grueling non-conference schedule with a really young team that featured only one senior on the roster. This year’s team has some experience plus freshman Cameron Shelton who has made an immediate impact as a starter. There is good size and depth on the roster and the 15-point win over Jacksonville in the opener was a very positive sign of progress.
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Losing by 16 at South Dakota is certainly excusable and that was a three-point game in the second half for a closer contest than the final score. There appears to be clear improvement in Flagstaff this season and this is a lot of points considering how easily most foes have scored on Nebraska-Omaha.