Oakland (0-4) vs. Louisiana (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: HTC Center (3,212) -- Conway, South Carolina. Television: Big South Network. Home Record: Oakland 0-0, Louisiana 2-0. Away Record: Oakland 0-4, Louisiana 0-2. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Conference Record: Oakland 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Oakland Golden Grizzlies will continue to search for their first win of the season as they collide with the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in the mainland part of the Maui Invitational Tournament at the HTC Center.
The winner of this game will advance to take on the victor of the matchup between St. Francis Brooklyn and Coastal Carolina.
Oakland is 0-4 as it heads to South Carolina after four very difficult bouts to begin the season. The Golden Grizzlies suffered lopsided losses to North Carolina and UCLA before just narrowly falling to California, 64-60. Coach Greg Kampe's team was defeated, 82-67, by Gonzaga on Sunday in its most recent action. Oakland is in its first season as a member of the Horizon League. It will not play its first home game until Nov. 30 when it hosts Rochester College.
Coach Bob Marlin's Ragin Cajuns are sitting at the .500 mark after four games. Louisiana began its season win routs of Louisiana College and McNeese State, but was downed by double-digits by Arkansas and Baylor in its last two outings. The Ragin' Cajuns returned their major contributors from last season's squad that finished with a 13-20 overall record.
This will be the second meeting in history between Oakland and Louisiana. The Ragin' Cajuns won the first meeting, 90-79, on Nov. 11, 2012 to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Golden Grizzlies have one of the most dangerous mid-major players in the nation leading the way as senior guard Travis Bader is back in the mix. Bader is on pace to break J.J. Redick's NCAA Division I record for made 3-pointers in a career and rarely comes off the floor. Bader had 22 points and knocked down 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the team's loss to Gonzaga, while Tommie McCune tallied 17 points. Oakland was shorthanded due to suspensions to Duke Mondy and Dante Williams, who are both eligible to return for the Maui Invitational.
Louisiana also has a mid-major star in junior guard Elfrid Payton, who is contributing 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and three steals per outing through four games. Shawn Long has also been excellent as he is netting a double-double with 20 points and 10.5 rebounds per tilt. Eldridge Moore is a sold third-option on the offensive end. Moore has shot 53.6 percent from the field to add 10.3 ppg. The Ragin' Cajuns do not have much talent outside of that trio, although Kevin Brown is expected to heat up eventually from his 23.5 percent conversion rate from beyond the arc. As a team, Louisiana is shooting only 25.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
Oakland lives and dies by the 3-point shot, while Payton is a slashing guard who finds a lot of easy opportunities for himself and teammates by attacking the paint. The Ragin' Cajuns will be able to keep the Golden Grizzlies winless if they play solid perimeter defense, but that is easier said than done with a lights out shooter like Bader on the floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 78, Louisiana 72
11/23 10:34:16 ET