GAME THREAD: FAU vs. Louisiana Tech - 01/09/14 @ 7:30 PM
What: FAU (4-10) vs Louisiana Tech (12-3)
When: Thursday, January 9th @ 7:30 PM
Where: Thomas Assembly Center
Bulldogs Team Site: Here
Live Video: LA Tech All Access *FEE
Radio: ESPN 106.3
Internet Broadcast Info
Live Stats: Here
G Kenneth Smith 6.8 ppg
G Raheem Appleby 16.6 ppg
G Alex Hamilton 15.0 ppg
F Chris Anderson 10.6 ppg
F Michale Kyser 6.3 ppg
G Marquan Botley 7.6 ppg
G Jackson Trapp 9.5 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 19.3 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 5.1 ppg
C Justin Raffington 8.7 ppg
Thursday marks the first contest between the two programs.
LA Tech at a Glance:
With an average starting back court height of just under 6'-4", the Bulldogs offer some size and are producing as well. Off guards guards Raheem Appleby, and Alex Hamilton drive the bus with 38.% of the total offensive production, while consistently seeing playing time together.
Hamilton remains the squad's most consistent wing player, connecting on 55.3% of his attempts, and Appleby was named a league player to watch for 2013-14. From long range, key reserve Kenyon McNeail has been lethal (42.0%, 8th C-USA) and has the team's most attempts (69) to prove it.
Feeding them is point man Kenneth Smith, who currently sits 2nd in C-USA with 88 dishes, and an impressive 2.93 to one assist to turnover ratio.
In the front court, forward Michale Kyser is making opponents leary of lofting up ill advised shots with 4.07 dismissals a game (4th NCAA).
C-USA continues to foriet an official preseason poll for men's hoops, but reputable source Ken Pomeroy conducted his own, which has the Bulldogs claiming 2nd place when it's all said and done.
That would not be surprising considering that they lead the way among league members in both points per game (86.1) and assists (16.2), while placing fourth in points allowed (67.5 pg).
LA Tech calls the Thomas Assembly Center home. Ironically, it is a venue which has hosted a larger crowd for a women's contest (8,975, 84') than they have for a men's (8,824, 85'). The marks date back to the hay days of a rivalry against Louisiana-Monroe when the teams were joint members of the Southland Conference and ULM was the opponent on both occasions.
The Bulldogs have made 11 post season appearances, with five of those being at the DI level. NBA players Karl Malone (Jazz), P.J. Brown (Heat), Randy White (Mavericks) and Paul Millsap (Jazz, Hawks) all played at LA Tech during their collegiate careers before turning pro.
Momentum is certainly at hand, as the squad is coming off a 126-52 win over Longwood last Saturday, but claimed a quality non-conference win the game prior by defeating Oklahoma 102-98 in overtime on the Sooner's home court.
FAU at a Glance:
The first game of the Owls' Conference USA era begins on Thursday. As we mentioned earlier, there is no "official poll" to draw from for comparison, but Coach Mike Jarvis had this to say on what he has gleaned from studying the soon to be opponents; some of which are familiar in Middle Tennessee and FIU.
"I think it's open to be honest", said Jarvis. There might be some teams that won't have any shot at all, but the majority of the teams will have a shot against anybody on any given night. I don't think there's any team that is so overwhelming that you can't beat them."
He's probably right in the regard that it will be easier to pull off "upsets" against what is the considered the upper echelon of the group. It isn't like the previous season where Middle Tennessee was a ridiculous opponent given Laron Dendy, and former times when WKU was a runaway favorite to win the Sun Belt.
Despite what most perceive as lackluster results through 14 contests, he's considering FAU as one of the teams who will have a shot come tournament time with continued progress throughout the season.
"We haven't found the guy who is going to make that big shot when we have to have it, or that guy who can make that big stop when we have to have it, but I do think that we're getting better and will continue to get better", Jarvis said.
Looking at the last 20 years, FAU has started off 4-10 during the 2011-12 (11-19), 2008-09 (6-26), 2007-08 (15-8), 2002-03 (7-21), and 1998-99 (6-20) seasons. As noted, only one campaign resulted with a winning mark when it was all said and done.
Florida Atlantic got eight assists with just two turnovers between Marquan Botley and D'Andre Johnson against Warner in their recent record setting rebounding bout. This was the duo's best tandem showing on the season.
Botley is sporting a 2.58:1 ATR, which would be good for second in the league but does not make the cut due to a minimum of three dishes per game while only having 2.2 per outing.
Jarvis was not even aware of the rebounding feat which had occurred, one that set down a 25 year old mark for the program, but did note the effort put forth.
"Obviously you aren't going to have too many nights like that - period", commented Jarvis. "But there's some value in it, it means that the guys were playing hard against a team that most guys would probably not play hard against."
Off guard Jackson Trapp did not see playing time against Warner due to the need for rest, but will return on Thursday against the Bulldogs. The Owls are still looking for their first road win.
LA Tech -17
Owl's Nest Prediction
FAU is getting a crash course in the one of the league's best teams this season right out of the gate. With clear advantages in three of the four factors to winning lined up for the Bulldogs, it will take error free playing from the Owls combined with some bounces their way to pull off a win in their inaugural Conference USA bout.
If the Owls have anything working up front for them in this contest its a weight advantage. Unfortunately, La Tech's speed counters that and will likely present problems - especially around the glass. FAU has a +1.14 rpg edge in the offensive category, however gives up -3.04 rpg defensively.
LA Tech -12
What we spend on the program is very near......Elon. We basically have the same budget of the team everyone assumed we should have beaten based on the fact that most people have not heard of them. There are tons of programs out there that we have not heard of that have larger budgets than us.
So based on budget alone, we are in a bad spot as a program. I think our budget is lower than everyone on our schedule (excluding Ave Maria and Warner--and I am only assuming on those 2). Yes, ours is lower than Stony Brook.