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Louisiana Pre Game Thread


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When: Sunday, November 21st 7:30 PM EST

Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

TV: BTN

So far, the Rajun' Cajuns are 3-0 but have only played one  D1 game (win over Southern Mississippi 66-45) sandwiched between wins over NAIA schools West Florida (one of my alma maters) and Xavier, Louisiana. 

54.4% of minutes played and 46.9% of scoring return from 2020-21 roster. That team went 17-9 (10-7, 4th in Sun Belt

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Former Sam Houston St coach Bob Marlin is their coach. 208-152 at Louisiana, and 433-283 overall in his career. Last year they finished 170th in offensive rating, and 171st in defensive rating...

They look to go about 8 deep...

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Can't find any video on them, but they are picked 2nd in the Sun Belt conference this year...

 

Edited by IUFLA
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Found this preview of their season...

2. Louisiana

Key Returners: Theo Akwuba, Brayan Au, Dou Gueye, Kobe Julien, Trajan Wesley (injury), Ty Harper, Durey Cadwell (injury)
Key Losses: Cedric Russell (transfer), Mylik Wilson (transfer), Devin Butts (transfer)
Key Newcomers: Greg Williams, Jr. (St. John’s), Jordan Brown (Arizona), Antwann Jones (Creighton), Jalen Dalcourt (San Jose St.), Joe Charles

Lineup:

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Louisiana roster.JPG

Outlook: In researching for this preview, I learned that in May, marlin fishermen caught a 683-pound tuna off the coast of Louisiana, which probably seems irrelevant to the Ragin Cajuns basketball team. But it did give me two thoughts: 1) that’s a f****** enormous fish (ok, not relevant); 2) the ocean is terrifying (do you have a point here, Jim?); and 3) Louisiana coach Bob Marlin did some angling for big fish in the waters of the transfer portal this offseason, and boy, did he hook some big ones himself. Considering his best team in Lafayette (2018) was loaded with transfers, that seems like a strong strategy for Marlin to rise back up to the top of the Sun Belt food chain.

In Marlin’s defense, last year’s team was threatening to accomplish that, having swept eventual champion Texas State on the road to close the month of January as part of a 7-3 start to league play. Unfortunately, starting point guard Brayan Au went down with an injury the very next game, and the Cajuns stumbled to a 3-4 finish to the year against a soft-ish (albeit road-heavy) schedule. Au’s on-ball craft, passing vision, and size in the backcourt was mostly irreplaceable, despite the best efforts of late enrollee Ty Harper, and the on/off numbers emphasize that point:

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Au importance.JPG

Au was actually already playing through a knee injury after having surgery in October, and when you combine a fully healthy Au with a more experienced Harper, Louisiana could have a formidable point guard tandem. That’s not even mentioning Trajan Wesley, a feisty reserve who missed all of last season with injury; the 5’9 junior is not flashy, but he’s proven himself to be a steadying presence when on the floor.

And really, point guard is the only question mark on this roster. Marlin’s toughest squads dominate the paint, and the three-headed monster of Theo Akwuba (reigning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year), fifth-year big Dou Gueye, and Arizona transfer/former McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown will do just that. All three are dominant two-way rebounders, and Akwuba and Brown will both protect the rim with ferocity. Akwuba showed time and again last year that even when he was slightly out of position, he could still swallow up quality players inside:

 
akwuba block.gif

Marlin is flexible with how he structures his offense, and having both Akwuba and Brown gives him two powerful post up threats on that end through whom he can run things. Gueye is not the same kind of physical specimen, but he’s mobile and active, and there’s at least a sliver of a chance he becomes useful as a perimeter shooter as well. Many power conference teams would be content with the size and talent that trio possesses; it may be the best in all of true mid-majordom.

To soak up any leftover minutes, rising sophomore Isaiah Richards is back as a useful bench piece (and potentially a future star in the league once he’s an upperclassman), and talented forward Kobe Julien will hopefully be healthy as well. Julien is a different kind of player – smaller, more of a ‘tweener type – who allows Marlin to play some small ball and weaponize his centers with a true four-out look around them. He’s struggled with injuries so far in his career, but he has sky-high potential if he can get on the floor consistently.

So far, we’ve only referenced one of Marlin’s big catches this offseason, but the wing rotation looks stacked thanks to his efforts, as well. The gem is Greg Williams, a local kid who is coming back home from St. John’s for his senior year. A bulldog of a defender and a smooth outside shooter (led the Big East in 3P% in conference play), Williams will be a matchup nightmare for thinner Sun Belt guards. He’s also capable of sliding over to the point at times if Au/Harper struggle.

Another Lafayette native, Jalen Dalcourt arrives from San Jose State, a scoring-minded guard whose efficiency withered away while stuck on a mostly hopeless SJSU team playing its home games at an exercise facility in Phoenix, AZ.  The final pieces of the puzzle are Creighton transfer Antwann Jones, an athletic, multi-positional wing who started his career at Memphis, and Durey Cadwell, a JUCO transfer whose first two seasons in Lafayette have been derailed by knee injuries. Fortunately for Marlin, he has the depth to survive an injury or poor season from one or two of this group.

Bottom Line: Like Richie Riley at South Alabama, Marlin faces the challenge of integrating so many vital new pieces into the lineup. It helps that this offseason more resembles a usual one, and the Ragin Cajuns should have a full non-conference slate to sort out roles and rotations. Marlin has the roster to play how he wants – downhill towards the rim, extended and active on the defensive end – so the sky is the limit for Louisiana. Marlin’s track record indicates he’s capable of engineering a cohesive squad, and if he’s able to do that, he may reel in the ultimate trophy fish: an NCAA Tournament appearance."

Just a note, Brayan Au has not played yet this season after coming off a knee injury from last year...

Edited by IUFLA
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5 minutes ago, IndyHoosier22 said:

Pretty solid mid major, shouldn’t have any issues if we show up but that was a pretty intense game last night so you always wonder about the let down…

I was thinking the same thing...Trap game...

But Coach Woody has shown that he's not going to tolerate bad play..."Hey, I have someone here on the bench (sans Trayce and Race) that is just as good as you are, and they're hungry to play."

And he has one of the great scowls in all of sports...

image.png.494963eeac12f8409159f81622c1b8a0.png

Michael Durr got a look that would melt iron...

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2 hours ago, IUFLA said:

I was thinking the same thing...Trap game...

But Coach Woody has shown that he's not going to tolerate bad play..."Hey, I have someone here on the bench (sans Trayce and Race) that is just as good as you are, and they're hungry to play."

And he has one of the great scowls in all of sports...

image.png.494963eeac12f8409159f81622c1b8a0.png

Michael Durr got a look that would melt iron...

And Durr played like crap and laughed about it, and then Durr didn’t play again. 

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6 hours ago, IUFLA said:

I was thinking the same thing...Trap game...

But Coach Woody has shown that he's not going to tolerate bad play..."Hey, I have someone here on the bench (sans Trayce and Race) that is just as good as you are, and they're hungry to play."

And he has one of the great scowls in all of sports...

image.png.494963eeac12f8409159f81622c1b8a0.png

Michael Durr got a look that would melt iron...

Supposedly XJ got that look when he came out with his 4th foul....

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8 hours ago, IUFLA said:

I was thinking the same thing...Trap game...

But Coach Woody has shown that he's not going to tolerate bad play..."Hey, I have someone here on the bench (sans Trayce and Race) that is just as good as you are, and they're hungry to play."

And he has one of the great scowls in all of sports...

image.png.494963eeac12f8409159f81622c1b8a0.png

Michael Durr got a look that would melt iron...

He looks like simultaneously wth did I just see?, and I'm about to rip a new one. 

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