Louisiana (11-11) at U-L-M (2-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 28th, 5:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Faint-Ewing Coliseum (8,000) -- Monroe, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Louisiana 8-3, ULM 0-10. Away Record: Louisiana 2-7, ULM 2-9. Neutral Record: Louisiana 1-1, ULM 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 5-3, ULM 1-7. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 45-18.
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks try to snap a four-game losing streak when they play host to the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in a Sun Belt Conference bout.
Louisiana has won three of its last four outings to move within a game of first place in the Sun Belt West Division standings. The Cajuns are coming off a 64-62 win over North Texas on Wednesday.
ULM is having a season it would rather forget, as the team has registered just two wins in 21 tries. The Warhawks' last loss came in blowout fashion, 91-63, to Troy on January 21.
Louisiana holds a comfortable lead in the all-time series with its in-state rival, 45-18. The Cajuns have won eight of the last nine meetings, including a 61-46 decision in Monroe last February.
Louisiana has played solid defense all year and continued that trend on Wednesday against North Texas. The Cajuns were able to hold off the Mean Green thanks to a 37.9 percent shooting effort by UNT, which was actually even better than what the teams allows on the season (.393, second-best in the conference). Bryant Mbamalu paced Louisiana in the win with a season-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field. Though Mbamalu averages just 6.9 ppg on the year, he has hit a groove lately, netting at least 17 points in each of the last two contests. Louisiana ranks fourth in the SBC in scoring (69.8 ppg) and is led by a trio of double-digit scorers in J.J. Thomas (10.8 ppg), Josh Brown (10.4 ppg) and Kadeem Coleby (10.2 ppg). All three are solid contributors on the glass as well, grabbing at least 4.5 rpg apiece. Darshawn McClellan nets 9.1 ppg and is the Cajuns' most efficient three-point shooter, draining 1.1 threes per contest at a 41.7 percent clip.
ULM is the Sun Belt's worst offensive team (58.4 ppg), and second-worst defensive squad (69.8 ppg), and both weaknesses were exposed in last week's loss to Troy. The Warhawks allowed the Trojans to shoot 55.6 percent from the floor and connect on a whopping 15-of-32 three-point tries, while they made good on just 41.3 percent of their total shots. Steven McClellan was the team's lone standout in the setback, netting 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting. After missing the first seven games of the season, McClellan has averaged 9.4 ppg and leads the team in rebounds (7.3 rpg) and field goal percentage (.510). Fred Brown (11.8 ppg) and Charles Winborne (11.2 ppg) are the Warhawks' leading scorers, though Brown hurts more than he helps sometimes with his 36.6 percent shooting from the field. ULM's inability to force turnovers combined with its poor ball-handling leads to a turnover margin of minus-2.05 per game, which is the second-worst mark in the conference.
ULM's home court has been far from an advantage as the Warhawks have yet to record a win in Monroe this season. Don't expect this game to be any different as Louisiana rides a wave of momentum to another victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 68, ULM 60
01/28 10:42:56 ET