SUU (1-10/0-2 Big Sky) will be playing just its fourth home game of the season Saturday and will be looking to notch its first Big Sky win after opening with losses at North Dakota and Northern Colorado last week. The Thunderbirds opened conference play last Thursday with a hard-fought 65-61 setback at North Dakota, then ran into a red-hot Northern Colorado team that shot 62 percent en-route to a 91-55 victory.
Sacramento State (4-7, 0-2 Big Sky), which plays at Northern Arizona on Thursday, opened Big Sky play in Montana last week, where the Hornets lost a 70-55 decision to Montana State and an 82-70 setback at Montana. Like the Thunderbirds, the Hornets have been road warriors this season, with eight road games so far against four home contests. They host Portland State next week in their Big Sky home-opener.
Northern Arizona (4-9, 1-1 Big Sky) also opened its conference schedule with a swing through Montana last week, taking a 73-65 win at Montana before losing a heart-breaker at Montana State, 68-66. The Lumberjacks’ win at Montana was the only road win on the opening weekend of conference play. NAU has also played the large majority of its games this season on the road, with just three of its non-conference games coming in Flagstaff.
Southern Utah holds a 14-7 advantage in the series with Sacramento State, including a 79-67 win the last time the teams met, last year in Cedar City, where the Thunderbirds hold an 8-2 edge in the series. The two teams, which competed against each other in the American West Conference from 1994 to 1996, split two games last year, with the Hornets taking a 64-59 home victory.
NAU holds a 13-9 edge in the series with the Thunderbirds, but SUU swept the series last year, picking up a 90-77 win in Flagstaff, then defending the home court with a 78-67 victory. During the 2002-03 season, the last times the teams met prior to this year, the Lumberjacks took a 73-56 win in Cedar City, then completed a season sweep with an 85-68 win in Flagstaff. Southern Utah holds a 6-3 edge in the series in games played in Cedar City.