Scouting Report: Louisiana-Lafayette

Lute Olson will square off against former assistant Jesse Evans as the Cats try to win their 18th Fiesta Bowl Classic in 19 tries. Louisiana-Lafayette look for one of their biggest wins in school history. Can the student beat the master?

No. 4 Arizona (7-1) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (4-3)
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2003
Time: 7:30 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court at McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: FSNA (Dave Sitton/Bob Elliott)

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Louisiana-Lafayette at a glance
Coach: Jesse Evans
Location: Lafayette, LA
Starters Returning: 3
2002-03 Record: 20-10 (12-3)
Conference: Sun Belt
Post Season: N.I.T
Last Meeting: Arizona won 76-73 in the schools' only meeting in 1978.

Team Leaders
Scoring: Brad Boyd 15.9 ppg
Rebounding: Brian Hamilton 7.1 rpg
Assists: E.J. Dwayne Mitchell 4.8 apg

LAST TIME OUT: Arizona cruised to a 107-91 win over Liberty. The Cajuns beat Valpo 95-71.

OVERVIEW: The big story is the fact that Jesse Evans will face former boss Lute Olson. Evans was an assistant in the 90's and helped turn Arizona into "Point Guard U." Evans was hired by Louisiana-Lafayette following the '97 National Championship and has led them to an NCAA Tournament and a few N.I.T. appearances.

"I know if I'm going up against Lute (Olson) I've done something good," Evans said.

Expect the Ragin' Cajuns to run many sets that look similar to Arizona's. Evans does a lot of the same things as his former mentor. Lafayette has an athletic team that likes to get up and down the floor. They've eclipsed the 80-point mark three times this season and six players average in double figures.

The Cajuns have some good outside shooters. As a team they shoot a hair under 36% from behind the arc and over 45% from the field. They tend to be streaky, but when the shots are falling they can be hard to beat.

"If we can put up some good quality shots we can knock (Arizona) down," Evans said.

Louisiana-Lafayette has some height, four players are 6-9 or bigger, but they are being outrebounded by an average of four boards a game. The problem may be that a 6-6 player leads the team in rebounding.

The Cajuns have played three high-quality opponents (all on the road), getting blown out by two of them. Georgia Tech and Dayton destroyed them, while Xavier had to fight for a 78-74 win. They played one of their best games of the season last time out against Valpo.

BEST PLAYER: Brad Boyd leads the team in shooting and can flat out stroke it. Evans compared him to some of the best shooters he has coached. The Cats have struggled a bit against three-point shooting, so don't be shocked if Boyd scores some points.

LOUISIANA-LAYFAYETTE'S STRENGTHS: The Ragin' Cajuns are very athletic and can score in bunches. They are streak shooters and can be dangerous when they get hot.

LOUISIANA-LAYFAYETTE'S WEAKNESSES: They don't rebound well and aren't great from the foul line. They are playing better as of late, but have struggled against the two best teams they have faced

OUTLOOK: Although the Ragin' Cajuns are playing well, they just don't seem to have enough to match up with Arizona. The bad news is that the Cajuns are the most successful when they play Arizona's style of ball and the Cats can run just about anyone off the floor.

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