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Louisiana Preview

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:31 pm
by Commissioner
When: Monday, November 25, 4:00 p.m. EST
Where: Ed Clark HS, Las Vegas
TV: Flohoops (subscription required)
Radio: 910 AM Superstation

The Titans will try to make it a clean sweep in Vegas when they take on the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana in what is being billed as the "Battle of Branding Failures.'

The Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute began playing college sports in 1901. In 1921 the school was renamed the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, and in 1960 it became the University of Southwestern Louisiana. During this time the school's teams were called "Bulldogs." In the 1960s, the school's football coach began calling his team the Raging Cajuns, and in 1974, the school officially changed its athletic nickname from the boring, nearly generic "Bulldogs" to the distinctive, regionally-flavored Raging Cajuns. At some point thereafter, this was altered to be the "Rajin' Cajuns." People remember this name. Score one for branding on the Ragin' Cajuns thing. Although you can also call them simply "Cajuns."

On the other hand, while the Rajin' Cajuns nickname may be distinctive, the school's name is not. In 1984, the school changed it's name to the University of Louisiana. Later that year, the state legislature passed legislation changing the name back to Southwestern Louisiana. In 1999 it was renamed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. For several years, the school tried to call its athletic teams simply "Louisiana," but was blocked by opposition from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, fka Northeastern Louisiana. Finally, Monroe (aka NE Louisiana) ceded the "Louisiana" name to Louisiana Lafayette in early 2017. And so we face Louisiana, which is actually Louisiana Lafayette, and is not to be confused with Louisiana State or Louisiana Tech, let alone Louisiana Monroe.

The name isn't the only problem Louisiana has had. It cheats. A lot. In 1968, while still playing in D-2, Louisiana was barred from post-season play for two years for "Improper financial aid; out-of-season practice; improper recruiting contacts and inducements; improper administration of financial aid." The school joined D-1 for the 1971-72 season, and did so with a bang. Their first D-1 team went 25-4 and advanced to the Sweet 16 behind juniors Dwight "Bo" Lamar (a great name for a Ragin' Cajun), who averaged over 36 points, and Roy Ebron, who averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds. Lamar was a First Team All-American, and his point total for the year is still the 12th highest in NCAA history. (Lamar also still has the 5th highest career scoring average in NCAA history). The next year the Cajuns went 24-5, again reaching the Sweet 16. Joining Lamar and Ebron on that tea was Detroit Cooley great Larry Fogle, who averaged over 14 points. But after the season, the program became the first school ever to be given the "death penalty" by the NCAA. The program was banned from all outside play for two years, and from postseason play for four. The official finding was "Improper financial aid and transportation; extra benefits; out-of-season practice; improper recruiting contacts, entertainment, inducements, lodging and transportation; tryouts; excessive number of official visits; excessive time for official visits; academic fraud; eligibility; unethical conduct." In fact, the hoops squad was found to have committed over 120 violations, including cash payments to players, use of autos owned by boosters and coaches, use of university credit cards by players to buy gas, and supplying players with clothes and other goods. The most severe violations, however, involved massive academic fraud, including altered high school transcripts with forged signatures, and arranging for surrogates to take college entrance exams for prospective recruits. It could have been worse--the original recommendation was to toss Southwest Louisiana out of the NCAA. (Fogle, transferred to Canisius and led the nation in scoring in 1974.) The school has also been found guilty of "major violations" in 1995, 2007, and 2016.

But enough with all that--what about Monday's game?

Coach Bob Marlin is in his 10th season at Louisiana. After a couple rebuilding years when he took over, he's had 6 consecutive seasons with 19 or more wins, highlighted by an NCAA appearance in 2014 and an NIT bid in 2018. The Cajuns come in at 3-2, with wins over D-2 Loyola of Louisiana, McNeese State, and--of some interest--Youngstown State, a 73-61 win 10 days ago. They've lost at Wyoming (in overtime) and at TCU (by 33), both part of this "MGM Main Event" tournament. They'll be better rested than the Titans, not having played since the Wyoming game on Thursday.

Louisiana plays an up-tempo game, with an emphasis on three point shooting, so these two teams will go strength to strength in what should be a high-scoring affair. The Cajuns' fresh legs may help in such a shootout. The big three point shooter is Junior Cedric Russell, who is knocking down 50% of his three-point shots so far, after hitting 35.1% a year ago. Jalen Johnson, the team's leading scorer, is a 6-7 "stretch four" who is second to Russell in three point attempts and has hit over 40% this year. The rest of the squad is only hitting 22% from the arc. The Titans need to be aware of who has the ball on the perimeter, and try to pressure the "rest of the squad" to get the job done. Marlin works his starters--all 5 are averaging 28 or more minutes a game, with Johnson at over 36 minutes. However, the bench was bolstered by the return of senior guard PJ Hardy for the Wyoming game. Hardy, who missed the team's first 4 games after being suspended for violating team rules, played regularly last year and hit over 34% from three. Kristian Lafayette, a 6-10 forward from Hazel Park, is the main big man on the bench.

The Titans and Cajuns have played just once before, on a neutral floor in December, 2002, with the Cajuns winning 68-62. Both teams went on to play in the NIT that year.

I suspect the Titans are the better team, but I do worry about tired legs. The Titans ate up Cal-Irvine's freshmen guards on Sunday, and the Cajuns are also young in the backcourt. Should be a good game.

Probable Starters
PG - Mylik Wilson, 6-3 Fr. (8.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 16.7% 3Pt)
SG - Cedric Russell, 6-2 Jr. (15.6 pp, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 50.0% 3Pt)
SF - Kobe Julian, 6-6 RS Fr. (14.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 30.8% 3Pt)
F - Jalen Johnson, 6-7 Jr. (17.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 40.9% 3Pt, 85.2% FT)
PF - Dou Gueye, 6-9 Jr. (9.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg)

Key Reserves
G - PJ Hardy, 6-1 Sr. (6.9 ppg in 2019)
G - Calvin Temple, 6-0 Fr. (3.5 ppg)
G - Trajan Wesley, 5-9 Soph. (2.0 ppg)
F - Kristian Lafayette, 6-10 Soph. (1.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
F - Chris Spenkuch, 6-7 Fr. (2.0 ppg)

Re: Louisiana Preview

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:08 pm
by 1975SHjoe
Vegas has us as an underdog as LALa is -2. looks like high scoring game with the O/U at 157

Re: Louisiana Preview

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:17 pm
by titanmac
anyone see the game yesterday? this sounds like we are playing defense? hard to say if you
can't see it?

Re: Louisiana Preview

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:07 pm
by Resurget Cineribus
Only 1 - 14 from 3 so far today and down by 10 at the half.

Re: Louisiana Preview

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:14 pm
by ptctitan
We seemed flat today. Don't understand why they would be flat after a good game.

Re: Louisiana Preview

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:15 pm
by titanmac
shots refused to drop. as abysmal today as it was outstanding yesterday!

Re: Louisiana Preview

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:47 am
by 1975SHjoe
I can't recall a game where four of the five starters each scored only 3 points.