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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
COACH AND PROGRAM
It's tough to figure Northern Arizona out. One year the Lumberjacks are up, the next they're down. Last year was a downer as the 'Jacks failed to qualify for the Big Sky Tournament -- six of the eight conference teams make it -- as they finished a disappointing seventh in the league.
On paper, this could be another upswing year for NAU. Four starters return, but then again, those four starters guided Northern Arizona to an 11-17 record last year. The top tier of the conference -- Montana, Montana State, and Sacramento State -- has just too much talent for NAU to make a run for the conference crown. A middle of the pack scenario would probably suit the 'Jacks well, and they should at least qualify for the conference tournament.
Last season was just one big disaster in league play. After pushing out to a solid 8-6 record in non-conference games, NAU went 2-2 to start conference play. But NAU went 2-11 down the stretch, knocking the 'Jacks out of the conference tournament.