NAU got a steal with Russell, who is averaging nearly 16 points per game while shooting about 50 percent from the field. He averages nearly three turnovers per game, so there could be an issue there that Arizona would like to exploit. It is going to be asking a lot of Russell to go into a hostile environment and not only score on a solid defensive guard in Lyons, but also contain him. It would not be a surprise to see Russell score close to his season average, but that does not mean he is a better point guard than Lyons.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Michael Dunn (6-0, 180, Sr.)
Dunn is a solid rebounder for a shooting guard, but he really does not do much more. He is only shooting about 31 percent from the field and half of his field goal attempts per game are from behind the arc. Johnson is bigger, more athletic, and just better. Arizona will likely be able to force Dunn into bad shots and he is going to have a heck of a time trying to handle Johnson. This matchup is probably one of the bigger advantages Arizona will have Wednesday night.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Gabe Rogers (6-2, 175, Sr.)
Rogers has never met a shot he does not like and that is not a good thing when he is only shooting 32 percent of the field. Rogers is averaging 17 field goal attempts per game and nine of them are from three, which is just insane on the college level. In addition, Rogers leads the team in turnovers and you have to think he is going to struggle defensively with Hill. Rogers is going to get his, but at what cost?
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 235, Fr.) vs. Gaellan Bewernick (6-6, 215, So.)
Ashley's biggest challenge here won't be stopping Bewernick from scoring, but rather keeping him off the glass. He averages six rebounds per game and nearly half of them come on the offensive glass, which makes him a relatively dangerous player. Ashley is the better player here, but Bewernick does a little bit of everything and should be able to have a positive impact on the game for the Lumberjacks.
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Ephraim Ekanem (6-7, 230, Sr.)
Ekanem really does not do much, as he averages five points and three rebounds in about 15 minutes per game. The guess here is that NAU will go small, especially if Arizona is able to establish Tarczewski early, which is likely what the Wildcats will want to do. Either way, Ekanem does not really pose any major problems for Arizona.
Bench: Stallon Saldivar will likely get plenty of minutes off the bench. The 6-foot-0 guard will play about 20 minutes and although he only averages four points per game, he is a steady player that NAU counts on to be somewhat of a glue-type of player. In addition, Max Jacobsen will be the post player off the bench for the Lumberjacks and if NAU tries to match Arizona, it will have his six points and three rebounds per game. In reality though, it does not matter as the UA will have the advantage here in nearly every game.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Jack Murphy
We have a lot of respect for Murphy and think he will have a solid future as a coach. However, Miller has the success and credentials in this category, so he is going to have the advantage here.
Prediction: NAU is going to come in with plenty of motivation and you have to wonder if Arizona is going to have rust. That storyline will probably going away a few minutes into the game, however, when it is apparent Arizona is just the much better team. Arizona's size and depth will wear down the Lumberjacks in a game that should never be that close once it gets going.
Arizona 86, Northern Arizona 63