Louisiana Tech Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
WAC (26-6, 16-2)


Louisiana Tech quietly ended up with a 26-6 record…at least as quietly as a 26-6 record is possible. The Bulldogs do not have many big wins, but they did beat a very good Southern Miss squad in non-conference play and won at Utah State, which is one of the toughest places to play in the country. Louisiana Tech is off to Conference USA once they wrap up their postseason play and they certainly left the WAC on a high note.

Big Wins: 12/08 Southern Miss (65-55), 12/29 Denver (68-60), 12/31 New Mexico State (81-72)
Bad Losses: 12/04 at Northwestern State (83-89), 12/12 at McNeese State (72-80), 3/14 vs Texas-San Antonio (67-73)
Coach: Michael White (2 seasons at Louisiana Tech)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Bulldogs win games with their defense. This group will occasionally allow quite a few points, but they can create turnovers and rarely let the opposition get a clean look at the basket. Forward Michale Kyser is a great shot blocker and spearheads the tough defense. Point guard Kenneth Smith team as a whole ranks 19th in the country in steals and seventh in turnover margin. But perhaps the Bulldogs best defensive skill comes from beyond the arc. The opposition shoots a mere 28.9 percent from beyond the arc. Once the Bulldogs get in the lead, it can be extremely difficult to come back. Coach Michael White can go up to 11 deep on any given night and no player is safe from seeing the bench if they fail to live up to Coach White’s defensive expectations. The lone exception could be leading scorer Raheem Appleby. On a very balanced scoring team, it is Appleby, a 6-2 sophomore, who takes all of the big shots and averages a team high 14.4 points per game.

Why They Can Disappoint:
But Appleby also epitomizes the Bulldogs biggest problem when it comes to postseason play. He shoots just 30.4 percent from beyond the arc. Fellow guards Cordarius Johnson, Kenyon McNeail and Brandon Gibson do not fare much better. Not being able to consistently hit the long ball is fine, but this team really likes to shoot and forcing three-pointers is problematic. This is a team that lacks an interior scoring threat, but players like Appleby and Smith can get to the basket and they need to continue to attempt to work for easier shots instead of settling for three’s. Otherwise, one cold shooting night will have the Bulldogs headed home.

Probable Starters:
Kenneth Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 6.9 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.9 rpg
Raheem Appleby, Sophomore, Guard, 14.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Cordarius Johnson, Junior, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Brandon Gibson, Senior, Guard, 7.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Michale Kyser, Sophomore, Forward, 5.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.8 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Chris Anderson, Junior, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Alex Hamilton, Freshman, Guard, 7.3 ppg, 2.7 apg, 2.1 rpg
Jaron Johnson, Junior, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Isaiah Massey, Sophomore, Forward, 3.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Kenyon McNeail, Junior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.5 (46th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (78, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.3 (269, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.9 (51, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (46, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.2 (205, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.6 (161, 4)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (162, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.7 (116, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (101, 2)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
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 3/10


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