Louisiana Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Sun Belt (23-11, 11-7)


After a slow start to conference play, Louisiana has had a very impressive February and March. In that span they have gone 11-2, including three huge wins in three days to earn the Sun Belt’s NCAA Tournament bid. Once everything came together for Coach Bob Marlin, this team was tough to beat. The Ragin’ Cajuns can score in bunches and, if they can stop anybody, this will be a team to keep an eye on in the NCAA Tournament.

Big Wins: 12/4 at Louisiana Tech (89-80), 12/14 Houston (79-76), 3/15 vs Georgia State (82-81)
Bad Losses: 12/19 at Jackson State (70-73), 1/4 at LA Monroe (98-103, 1/16 at South Alabama (73-81)
Coach: Bob Marlin (4 seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette)

Why They Can Surprise:
The potent offense is led by Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long. Those two account for nearly half of the team’s 81.4 points per game. While that alone is impressive, Payton and Long do so much more for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Payton, a 6-3 guard, averages 6.0 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals on top of his 19.1 points. He is a menace on defense, an amazing playmaker on offense and a surprisingly great rebounder. Long, a 6-9 forward, gets it done in the paint. He averages 10.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. But Long is more than capable of stepping outside and knocking down some long balls. He only makes about one per game, but he does shoot 42.7 percent from beyond the arc and even that threat opens up the offense.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The Louisiana defense is not as bad as their 74.7 points allowed per game average would indicate. They do a decent enough job shutting down their opponent’s three-point shooting. Most of the easy buckets this team allows are off of turnovers and that is where the Ragin’ Cajuns can get into trouble. They rank tenth in the Sun Belt in turnovers and committing 14 or 15 in the Round of 64 is probably not going to be good enough. That leaves a lot of pressure on Payton and Long to make shots and even more pressure on Bryant Mbamalu and Xavian Rimmer to emerge as a third scoring option for Louisiana.

Probable Starters:
Elfrid Payton, Junior, Guard, 19.1 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.9 rpg, 2.3 spg
Bryant Mbamalu, Senior, Guard, 12.5 ppg, 1.4 apg
Xavian Rimmer, Junior, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 1.7 apg
Elridge Moore, Senior, Forward, 4.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Shawn Long, Sophomore, Forward, 18.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.7 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Kevin Brown, Junior, Guard, 5.5 ppg, 1.2 apg
J.J. Davenport, Junior, Center, 4.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Steven Wronkoski, Sophomore, Guard, 4.5 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 81.4 (13th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.7 (290, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (58, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.0 (196, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (104, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (89, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.7 (247, 6)
Rebound Margin: 2.9 (96, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (111, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.9 (298, 10)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012    CIT    First Round loss to Rice

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules