South Alabama (9-19) at Louisiana (18-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 2, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajundome (12,800) -- Lafayette, Louisiana. Television: Sun Belt Network. Home Record: USA 8-6, Louisiana 12-2. Away Record: USA 1-11, Louisiana 5-8. Neutral Record: USA 0-2, Louisiana 1-0. Conference Record: USA 3-12, Louisiana 9-6. Series Record: South Alabama leads, 24-20.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Sun Belt Conference teams try to get back into the win column today, as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns entertain the South Alabama Jaguars at the Cajundome.
In the case of the Jaguars, they are all alone at the bottom of the standings entering play on Sunday, having won just three of 15 league bouts. The team has been out of action since Thursday night when it came up short against Louisiana Monroe on the road, 71-54. The loss was the second in the last three outings for the program.
Meanwhile, the Ragin' Cajuns had been riding high on a six-game win streak before being taken down by Georgia State last weekend in an 80-77 final on the road. Louisiana finds itself tied with Arkansas State for third place in the standings with nine wins in 15 opportunities.
According to USA sources, the Jaguars own a 24-20 advantage in the all-time series with Louisiana. With the 81-73 victory at home in the middle of January, the Jags have now won four straight over the Ragin' Cajuns.
South Alabama was competitive through the first 20 minutes against ULM the last time out, but that was before the team shot only 7-of-26 from the floor in the second half, including 0-of-10 behind the 3-point line. Augustine Rubit was the only double-digit scorer for the Jags with his 14 points, adding six rebounds which was second only to Mychal Ammons who paired his nine rebounds with nine points.
Rubit has been the leading scorer in each of the last three games and five times in the last six outings for the Jaguars, which explains why he is the leading scorer overall for the program this season with 17.1 ppg. He has made good on more shots (119) at the free-throw line than anyone of his teammates has yet to attempt, not to mention coming up with a team-best 9.2 rpg as well.
The Ragin' Cajuns have not been on the hardwood in more than a week, giving them plenty of time to think about their three-point road loss to Georgia State last weekend. Shawn Long tried to get the team over the hump with 22 points and eight rebounds, followed by Bryant Mbamalu with 19 and Elfrid Payton 13 points, to go along with eight assists. Xavian Rimmer responded with 10 points, but he shot only 3-of-9 from the floor on the night at GSU Sports Arena.
A starter in all but two of the 27 games in which he has appeared, Long not only shares the scoring lead for Louisiana with Payton at 19.5 ppg, he is also the top rebounder for the group with 10.4 rpg. Long has also been head and shoulders above the rest of the team with his 75 blocked shots, but that still does not overshadow his mere 15 assists in more than 800 minutes of action. Payton picks up the slack in the passing department with 168 assists, not to mention posting 66 steals along the way as well.
Even if South Alabama were playing at home today, there is little chance the Jaguars would be able to knock off Louisiana with the Ragin' Cajuns having had so much time to plot their attack.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 73, South Alabama 61
03/02 10:39:11 ET