Louisiana Tech Men's Basketball 2015 NIT Tournament Capsule

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Conference USA (25-8, 15-3)


Louisiana Tech forward Michale Kyser has emerged as one of the top shot blockers in the nation. It is not easy to score on the Bulldogs when the lanky 6-10 senior is hanging around in the paint. Kyser is not going to score much, but his work on the glass and on the defensive end have made this a very dangerous Louisiana Tech squad.

Big Wins: 1/8 at UTEP (58-45), 1/29 Western Kentucky (69-56), 2/26 UTEP (77-60)
Bad Losses: 12/10 at Louisiana (86-94), 1/22 at North Texas (66-73), 2/5 at UAB (60-80)
Coach: Michael White

Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Michael White does not need Kyser to worry about scoring. Raheem Appleby, Alex Hamilton and Erik McCree are all double-digit scorers who are capable of huge games. After leading the team in scoring as a freshman and sophomore, Appleby had a bit of an off year in 2013-2014. But he is back in good form for his senior season and off games have been few and far between for Appleby. When Appleby’s shot is falling, which is more often the case than not, he can easily go off for 25 or more points. Hamilton is just as dangerous in the scoring department, although the 6-4 junior does a majority of his damage inside of the arc. McCree is Kyser’s partner in the paint. The sophomore transfer from Murray State can stretch the defense with his shooting ability, but is also developing into a decent scorer inside of the arc. The man who sets up all of the scorers is point guard Kenneth Smith. The reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, Smith is also one of the best pure point guards in the nation on the other end of the court.

Why They Can Disappoint:
With a player like Kyser manning the paint, Louisiana Tech should be better defensively. This is a team that wants to get up and down the floor, so allowing points is not a problem, but the opposition gets way too many quality looks at the basket. Some of that is due to Smith and Hamilton going for steals, which they do very effectively, yet this team can get beat by squads that are knocking down outside shots. Another potential pitfall is depth. The starting five is extremely experienced and many of them have a couple of NIT runs under their belt, but the bench is small and young. At some point, freshmen Jacobi Boykins and Xavian Stapleton will have to play extremely important postseason minutes and it remains to be seen if they will be up for the challenge.

Probable Starters:
Kenneth Smith, Senior, Guard, 6.1 ppg, 7.3 apg, 3.9 rpg, 2.0 spg
Raheem Appleby, Senior, Guard, 15.2 ppg, 1.9 apg, 1.4 spg
Alex Hamilton, Junior, Guard, 15.1 ppg, 2.6 apg
Erik McCree, Sophomore, Forward, 11.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Michale Kyser, Senior, Forward, 8.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 29 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jacobi Boykins, Freshman, Guard, 3.7 ppg
Xavian Stapleton, Freshman, Guard, 6.6 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.2 (47th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.5 (125, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.9 (95, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.7 (113, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (113, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.9 (231, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.1 (178, 5)
Rebound Margin: -4.6 (320, 14)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (72, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.1 (45, 2)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NIT    First Round win over Iona
2014    NIT    Second Round win over Georgia
2014    NIT    Regional Final loss to Florida State
2013    NIT    First Found win over Florida State
2013    NIT    Second Round loss to Southern Mississippi
2010    CIT    First Round win over Southern Miss
2010    CIT    Second Round loss to Missouri State
2006    NIT    First Round loss to Clemson
2002    NIT    Opening round win over Louisiana
2002    NIT    First round win over Vanderbilt
2002    NIT    Second round loss to Villanova
1992    NIT    First Round loss to New Mexico
1991    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Wake Forest

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules