Louisiana (13-11) at Troy (7-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 4th, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trojan Arena (4,000) -- Troy, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Louisiana 9-3, Troy 5-5. Away Record: Louisiana 3-7, Troy 2-9. Neutral Record: Louisiana 1-1, Troy 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 7-4, Troy 2-8. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 6-4.
GAME NOTES: Sun Belt Conference teams heading in opposite directions meet tonight at Trojan Arena, as Louisiana pays a visit to Troy.
After beginning the season a less-than-stellar 8-10, Louisiana has won five of its last six games to catapult to second place in the Sun Belt West Division standings, just a half game behind Arkansas-Little Rock. The Ragin' Cajuns claimed their third straight win on Thursday night, taking a 72-71 overtime decision against Denver.
Troy has not played well of late, losing nine of its last 11 games, with its only wins in that time frame coming against ULM and Western Kentucky, the only two Sun Belt teams it actually has more wins than. The Trojans got beat handily at home by FIU on Thursday, 63-50.
Louisiana leads the series with Troy, 6-4, and the Cajuns won in a 93-91 shootout in the only meeting last season.
Louisiana has one of the better scoring offenses in the Sun Belt, racking up 69.8 ppg on 44.1 percent field goal efficiency. Though the Cajuns didn't have their best game against Denver, shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and committing 19 turnovers, the team was carried to victory by a pair of stellar performances from Elfird Payton (20 points) and Josh Brown (21 points, 10 rebounds). On the season, Brown paces the Cajuns with 11 ppg and 6.5 rpg while shooting a respectable 45.1 percent from the floor. J.J. Thomas and Kadeem Coleby add 10.2 and 10 ppg, respectively, to help shoulder the scoring load, while Coleby tops the conference in field goal percentage (.568). Louisiana has four players averaging at least 4.5 rpg and the team is one of the best in the league in that department, collecting 38.2 rpg with a rebounding margin of +3.2.
Troy's offense is even more potent than Louisiana's, netting 70.2 ppg, and the team is among the national leaders in three-pointers made (9.6 per game). Troy put up a dud in Thursday's loss to FIU however, shooting 38 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from beyond the arc en route to its lowest scoring output of the season. Alan Jones led three Trojans in double figures with 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting from downtown, improving upon his season scoring average of 9.6 ppg. Will Weathers nets a team-high 11.2 ppg and hands out 6.1 apg, tops in the conference. Justin Wright adds 10.8 ppg and three other Trojans average at least nine points per game. Though it forces its fair share of takeaways (+2.33 turnover margin), Troy has the worst scoring defense in the conference and one of the worst in the country (74.6 ppg).
Troy's three-point attack can catch fire at any point, making the Trojans potentially deadly, but Louisiana has been playing too well to slip up against such an inconsistent foe.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 74, Troy 68
02/04 10:40:59 ET