The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs had to really extend themselves to get past the first round of the Conference USA tournament. And now they are going to have another very stiff challenge from a top defensive squad in Thursday night action.
They will be facing off against the Old Dominion Monarchs, who were probably the best team in C-USA at stopping people. They leave it necessary for opponents to come up with a "Plan B" at some point. And that is what makes for an intriguing matchup.
These teams tangle at 7 PM ET at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, TX.
ABOUT LOUISIANA TECH: To say that it was a struggle would be a vast understatement. That's because Florida Atlantic slowed up the pace and turned on the defense, at least for one half of the game. FAU held LaTech to just 20 points in the first 21 minutes, and the Owls' lead was at 16 points early in the second half. When you are playing a game with lengthy possessions, that kind of thing is difficult to make up, but that is exactly what the Bulldogs did, eventually overcoming Florida Atlantic in the waning moments to capture a 57-56 victory. Eric Konkol's team made 64% of its free throws, which is a little below its rather poor season average, but Anthony Duruji was right on target, hitting all six, as part of his 14-point, seven-rebound effort that produced an individual Offensive Rating of 174. The guy who makes this offense go is DaQuan Bracey, the 5-11 guard who scored 17 points with nine rebounds. This brings the Bulldogs to 20-12 straight-up, 9-9 in Conference USA and 17-13 against the spread. Those who follow the program closely know that Louisiana Tech has not been an outstanding shooting team. They have taken 39.4% of their attempts from the arc, and that percentage may have to increase, as Old Dominion is so strong in defending against two-pointers. Maybe this is too much of a challenge for LaTech, which is just 49.2% inside the arc, ranking just 220th in the nation.
ABOUT OLD DOMINION: The Monarchs drew a first-round bye, and they come into the Conference USA tournament as the #1 seed, and of course the regular season "champion." As such, they will have an automatic bid to the NIT (National Invitation Tournament) if they don't win the C-USA tournament crown here. The record is 23-8 straight-up, with a 13-5 league record, and they are 12-18-1 against the spread, after ending the season on a pointspread downturn, going 3-14-1 ATS in their last 18 games. Their previous game against LaTech was a straight-up win (64-63), but not a pointspread cover. There is no question that the Monarchs present a very difficult proposition for any team that wishes to operate inside. They have limited opponents to 42.9% inside the arc, which is fifth-best in the nation, and so their objective might be to challenge the Bulldogs to do something else to beat them. Opponents in general have thought that way as well, as they have attempted 40% of their shots form three-point territory. What ODU has to overcome is their own lack of real offensive punch when playing inside that three-point circle, as they are less than 45% accurate. This figure is 338th in the country, so clearly it is important to that they be a good offensive rebounding team, which they are (60th in the country).
1. The previous meeting was on January 17, with ODU winning 64-63. Dajour Dickens came up big off the bench for the Monarchs, with 14 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots. Amorie Archibald and Anthony Duruji both had 16 points for Louisiana Tech, which shot 38.5% on the evening.
2. BJ Stith and Ahmad Caver of Old Dominion were both named to the first team All-Conference USA squad this week.
3. Even though Old Dominion is fifth in the nation defending two-pointers and 14th in Effective Field Goal Percentage defense, the Monarchs are only fifth in C-USA in Defensive Efficiency (in conference games).
PREDICTION: Old Dominion 65, Louisiana Tech 61
Key Players to Watch
OLD DOMINION MONARCHS
LOUISIANA TECH BULLDOGS
- POINTS/G 451 DaQuan Bracey #4 | G
- REBOUNDS OFFENSIVE/G 70 Mubarak Muhammed #23 | F
- ASSISTS/G 120 DaQuan Bracey #4 | G
- 3 POINTS % 55 Amorie Archibald #3 | G
- REBOUNDS DEFENSIVE/G 147 Anthony Duruji #10 | F
- BLOCKS/G 38 Anthony Duruji #10 | F
- STEALS/G 38 DaQuan Bracey #4 | G
- TURNOVERS/G 2 Kale Walters #40 | F
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old-dominion-monarchs-basketball Stats 2018-2019
louisiana-tech-bulldogs-basketball Stats 2018-2019