Louisiana Tech (21-6) at Old Dominion (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ted Constant Convocation Center (8,472) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: LaTech 12-1, ODU 8-5. Away Record: LaTech 6-4, ODU 5-7. Neutral Record: LaTech 3-1, ODU 0-2. Conference Record: LaTech 9-3, ODU 7-5. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Lousiana Tech Bulldogs and the Old Dominion Monarchs will clash for the first time ever on Saturday night, as they meet in a Conference USA clash at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Louisiana Tech will need to recover quickly from its 75-68 loss to East Carolina on Thursday, as it ends a quick two-game road trip with this matchup. The setback against the Pirates ended a four-game win streak for the Bulldogs, who are one of four teams in the conference to have at least 20 wins this season (21-6). They return home to host Middle Tennessee next.
Old Dominion bullied its way into the win column on Thursday night against against Rice, taking a 55-51 decision. The Monarchs, who have been inconsistent all season (13-14), have failed to make up any ground of late, trading wins and losses in their last five contests. They will host Marshall next.
Poor shooting doomed Louisiana Tech in the recent loss to East Carolina. The Bulldogs only connected on 37.5 percent of their shots from the floor, compared to the 46.2 percent effort they allowed to their hosts. Kenyon McNeail paced the losing effort with 20 points.
Normally the Bulldogs are one of the toughest teams in C-USA to stop. They are netting 83.6 ppg on 46.2 percent shooting, while also handing out 16.5 apg. They rank in the top-10 in the country in both scoring and assists, while sitting 12th in rebounding (40.2 rpg). However, the squad has been without leading scorer Raheem Appleby (16.1 ppg) since mid-January as he recovers from an ankle injury. Alex Hamilton (14.7 ppg) stands in as the go-to option for now, getting support from Chris Anderson (11.6 ppg) and McNeail (10.6 ppg). Kenneth Smith (7.7 ppg, 7.8 apg) isn't much of a scorer, but he is second in the country in assists.
Richard Ross (18 points, 10 rebounds) had a big double-double as he led the Monarchs to a tough win over Rice. The Monarchs limited the Owls to 34.8 percent shooting, while dominating the interior to the tune of a 43-31 rebounding edge, and a 33-19 scoring advantage.
Old Dominion fans have had to get used to lackluster offensive production from their team this season, as the Monarchs are the lowest scoring team in C-USA (63.1 ppg), while ranking next-to-last in both assists (9.7 apg) and field goal percentage (.414). Aaron Bacote (15.8 ppg) is the most productive scorer on the roster, but he is not the most efficient, shooting just 38.5 percent from the floor. Keenan Palmore (10.6 ppg) and Dimitri Batten (10.4 ppg) are also averaging in double figures, while Ross (9.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg) anchors the team down low.
Louisiana Tech hasn't been an overly effective team on the road (6-4) this season. However, even without Appleby the Bulldogs are too strong at the offensive end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 77, Old Dominion 67
02/22 11:08:57 ET