BTH Gameday: Inexperienced teams clash as UALR travels to Louisiana-Lafayette

When UALR takes on Louisiana-Lafayette tonight, it will match the two most inexperienced teams in the Sun Belt Conference.

UALR (8-6, 2-1 Sun Belt) is not only the most inexperienced in the Sun Belt but the most inexperienced in all of NCAA Division I basketball, according to StatSheet. Louisiana-Lafayette (5-9, 1-2) ranks second in the Sun Belt and 12th in all of Division I.

It’s probably fair to say the team that makes the fewest freshman mistakes will have a major advantage when they tip off at 7:15 p.m. tonight at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.

UALR comes in with an experience factor rating of 1.28, which keeps them ahead of Texas (1.41) and Northern Illinois (1.56). Louisiana-Lafayette’s rating is 1.84, which ties them for 12th with Hartford. 


Elfrid Payton took 24 of Louisiana-Lafayette’s 66 field goal attempts on Thursday. Add the 21 combined by Shawn Long and Alan-Michael Thompson and they took 45 of the 66 shots. It’s pretty clear to see where Louisiana-Lafayette’s offense comes from.


Louisiana-Lafayette prefers to go by “Louisiana” or “UL." In fact, they’re a little psycho about it. ULL play-by-play man Jay Walker Got this blast off against Arkansas State this week when they promoted a game against “Lafayette” on Twitter:
 “@RedWolvesHoops when did you join the Patriot League? Playing the Leopards Thursday?”

We don't want any trouble. We’ll just try to go with Louisiana-Lafayette when possible.


Slow Shawn: Louisiana-Lafayette freshman forward Shawn Long has been impressive, averaging 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds. And it’s not as simple as just letting Leroy Isler or Taggart Lockhart track him all over the court. Long is 6-9 and more than 240 pounds. That means it’s going to take the likes of Michael Javes and Gus Leeper to slow him down.
Turning point: Turnovers continue to be an issue for UALR’s young guards. Louisiana-Lafayette is winless this season when opponents commit 13 turnovers or fewer. That has to be the goal for UALR today.
Survive and thrive: UALR hasn’t survived the first half in any of its road games this season. A halftime lead would go a long way toward getting the first road victory of the season.


Louisiana-Lafayette is a five-point favorite in Las Vegas. With the home-court advantage applied, the teams are considered very similar.


Four of the five go with Louisiana-Lafayette tonight. CBS once again goes with the Trojans:
Omni Rankings (4-1): ULL 76, UALR 62
Real Time RPI (11-2): ULL 71, UALR 68
Jeff Sagarin (11-2): ULL 75, UALR 68
The Sports Network (9-3):  ULL 71, UALR 66
CBS Sportsline (9-4): UALR 73, ULL 70
BTH Average (10-3): ULL 72.6, UALR 67.4