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Sun Belt Finals Preview

March 11, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




Sun Belt Conference Finals Preview

Preview by Zach Van Hart

No. 1 Louisiana Lafayette versus No. 3 New Orleans
Not since Ervin Johnson, (not Magic, the other one) has New Orleans been so excited about their Privateers. But before UNO goes dancing for the first time in eight seasons, they have a little road block in its way: a Louisiana Lafayette team that is playing at a level above everyone else in the Sun Belt. Something is going to have to give Tuesday as the two teams square off with a birth to the NCAA Tournament on the line. The two teams split their games this year, with the home team winning in convincing fashion both time. This will be the third trip to the finals in the past five seasons for the Ragin’ Cajuns; they lost in 2002 but won in 2000, their last trip to the dance. The 1996 win in the tournament finals was also the last time the Privateers have advanced to the final game.

For Louisiana Lafayette on defense, it’s simple: contain Bo McCalebb. The freshman guard is averaging 25 points during the tournament and has an aura of invincibility. For New Orleans on defense, it’s simple: stop everyone. The Cajuns have produced nine double-digit performances during the first two games and always has five guys on the court very capable of scoring. Both teams have been successful on offense by keeping better care of the ball than their opposition, so whichever team limits its turnovers will have a big advantage. McCalebb can get into foul trouble on occasion; look for Lafayette to try and exploit him on defense. Last, New Orleans can sometimes depend too much on the three ball. If the Privateers played an outstanding game, they will be dancing on Bourbon Street. Baring a McCalebb show though, the Ragin’ Cajuns just look too good right now to lose right now and should take the 2004 Sun Belt Tournament.

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