DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 23rd, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hofheinz Pavilion (8,749) -- Houston, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Louisiana 1-2, Houston 3-0. Away Record: Louisiana 0-1, Houston 0-1. Neutral Record: Louisiana 0-0, Houston 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 0-0, Houston 0-0. Series Record: Houston leads, 7-6.
GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns have traveled to Houston for a non- conference matchup with the hometown Cougars.
Louisiana is off to a rough start, as three of its first four games this season have resulted in defeat. The club put forth its worst offensive output of the season last Friday in a 60-55 loss to Cleveland State, and the Ragin' Cajuns have had a different leading scorer in all four games thus far. While some might see that as a positive, it is obvious that Louisiana lacks a go-to guy at the offensive end.
The Cougars are 3-1 so far and have won each of their three home games to extend their winning streak at Hofheinz Pavilion to six contests dating back to last season. Houston enters tonight's affair on the heels of a dominating 81-58 win against Northwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday. Still, the team has proven very little this season, as it lost to Louisiana Tech and has beaten three inferior opponents.
Houston holds a narrow 7-6 advantage over Louisiana in the all-time series between the teams, and they last squared off in 2003-04.
The Ragin' Cajuns are scoring 70.0 ppg through four outings, and they are shooting 42.6 percent from the field. While they are allowing roughly the same number of points (70.2 ppg) and limiting opponents to 40.4 percent field goal efficiency, the only stat that really matters right now is 1-3, the club's disappointing record. David Perez paces Louisiana in scoring right now with 13.3 ppg, and Randell Diagle is close behind with 12.8 ppg and 4.0 apg. Travis Bureau (12.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Josh Brown (12.5 ppg) are solid contributors as well. In the loss to Cleveland State on Friday, La'Ryan Gary paced Louisiana with 19 points, while Daigle netted 10 points. The Ragin' Cajuns made good on just 34 percent of their field goal attempts, including a 4-of-17 effort from three-point range, and they turned the ball over 16 times. Those poor stats overshadowed a strong defensive effort that limited Cleveland State to 33.9 percent overall shooting.
Maurice McNeil is scoring 14.5 ppg to pace Houston on the strength of his 62.5 percent shooting from the floor, and he is ripping down 11.0 rpg. McNeil's output would be even better if not for his 51.4 percent shooting from the foul line. Adam Brown provides 14.0 ppg for the Cougars, who are getting 11.3 ppg from Darian Thibodeaux. Houston is generating 71.5 ppg while limiting the opposition to 62.0 ppg on 37.1 percent field goal efficiency. In the 23-point romp over Northwestern Oklahoma State, Houston placed four players in double figures offensively, including McNeil with his 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Thibodeaux pitched in 15 points, and Kirk Van Slyke contributed 11 points. The Cougars made good on 50.9 percent of their field goal attempts, including a 7-of-13 effort from three-point range. They also racked up 24 assists against eight turnovers and limited their overmatched opponents to 33.3 percent shooting from the field.
Houston is the better team in this matchup and will knock off Louisiana. Expect another strong effort from McNeil, a double-double threat every time he takes the court.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 76, Louisiana 63