NAU men picked last in Big Sky polls

BY foxsports • October 18, 2012

The Northern Arizona men’s basketball team is picked last in both the media and coaches’ preseason polls released by the Big Sky Conference on Thursday. It is the first time the Lumberjacks have been picked last in the conference preseason polls since the 1992-93 season.

“Our motivation is we have a lot of guys with a lot of pride,” said first-year head coach Jack Murphy. “They want to come back and perform better than we did as a program last year. I don’t think it is indicative of the program that has been built here at NAU by the previous coaches and alumni players. We have a lot to live up to in the past success.”

NAU returns three starters and nine letter winners overall from a 5-24 team (1-15 Big Sky) and welcomes six newcomers to the program.

“What the poll does is indicate what other people think of us,” said Murphy. “It is on us to change those views. Based on last year, they are right in their view point. We have players and a staff that wants to change that view of NAU basketball. It is what we are working towards every day.”

Defending Big Sky Conference champion Montana has been selected first in the 2012-13 preseason men’s basketball polls. Weber State, Northern Colorado, North Dakota and Portland State round out the Coaches’ poll top five. Weber State is also picked second by the media, followed by Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado and Portland State.

The Grizzlies received eight first-place votes and 98 total points in the coaches’ poll, and 24 first-place votes and 344 points in the media poll. Both polls were released by the league office Thursday. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

The 2013 Big Sky Championship will consist of the top seven teams from the regular-season standings. The championship will be played March 14-16 at the site of the regular-season champion. The No. 1 seed will receive a bye to the semifinals. There will be three first-round games on Thursday, March 14.

Teams will play 20 conference games this season in a true double round-robin format. The 2012-13 season begins on Nov. 9.

NAU has added a second exhibition game to the 2012-13 schedule. The Lumberjacks will open the season on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center against Haskell, a NAIA four-year degree-granting university from the Midlands Collegiate Athletics Conference. The two schools last met in the 2008-09 season.

“It will be a good experience for our guys to go through the game-day experience and another chance for our home fans to see us play.” said Murphy.

NAU will play a second exhibition game against Adams State on Nov. 3.

 Coaches    Media  
 1. Montana (8)
 98   1. Montana (24)
 2. Weber State (3)
 92   2. Weber State (8)
 3. Northern Colorado
 74   3. Eastern Washington
 4. North Dakota
 67   4. Northern Colorado  221
 5. Portland State
 61   5. Portland State  218
 6. Eastern Washington  53   6. North Dakota  173
 7. Sacramento State
 51   7. Montana State
 8. Montana State  48   8. Sacramento State  166
 9. Idaho State
 25   9. Idaho State  106
 10. Southern Utah
 23   10. Southern Utah  98
 11. Northern Arizona
 14   11. Northern Arizona  67

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