New Mexico at Northern Arizona Today, Flagstaff, 2 p.m., 610 AM/95.9 FM
What you need to know about Northern Arizona: The ’Jacks have shown improvement in Payne’s second season and can give opponents fits when their 3-pointers are falling. NAU hit 15 of 20 from behind the arc in an 86-73 home win over Fresno State in November but its shooting has cooled recently. The ’Jacks shot just 28.3 percent from the field in a 65-54 loss at Colorado State this week. Several players have solid 3-point percentages but Paplow is NAU’s most versatile performer and an on-court leader. The ’Jacks do not often press beyond halfcourt but they’re an up-tempo team and will run when possible. There’s not much height in the starting lineup, so rebounding can be a problem. What you need to know about New Mexico: The Lobos will try to build on a five-game winning streak in the first of two straight road games. Pace has been crucial to UNM’s success this season as it racks up lots of fast-break points but has shot erratically from 3-point range (29.3 percent). Everett (15for-32) has been the Lobos’ only consistent threat from 3-point range. But UNM has done a solid job in transtion and its half-court defense has been much improved this season. Robertson, Everett and Nunn have combined for 33 steals, and Lobo opponents are averaging 19.7 turnovers per game. UNM has had its own turnover issues (18 per game) but averaged just 11.5 in its two most recent games.