"Not only is it the game," said ULM coach Orlando Early, who was stricken with the flu late last week. "But we haven't been able to practice as a team leading up to the game. But we'll give it a shot. Malcolm practiced for the first time in three days. You hope that you get out there, it's opening night and you get the adrenaline flowing and forget about it."
LSU won the SEC championship last year, but lost five seniors off that squad. A key returnee is senior Tasmin Mitchell, who averaged over 16 points as a junior.
"Tasmin is not only one of the best players in the SEC, but in the nation," Early said. "He's a Wooden award guy. He'll be on that list. He's a big time player."
LSU's lineup could include 6-10 sophomore Garrett Green and Richwood product Storm Warren. Green missed last season with back problems. Dennis Harris redshirted last year and will be looking to see his first collegiate action against ULM. Bo Spencer, Chris Bass, freshman Aaron Dotson and Zach Kinsley, will share minutes at the guard positions.
"Their other guys are good players," Early said. "They're not all proven, but they are SEC talented players. Hopefully when we come out tomorrow, and our guys have more game experience per se, it will work in our favor."
ULM, 10-20 last season, returns a veteran squad and beat Texas-Tyler 82-39 in its exhibition game. ULM returns five starters and seven letter winners, including bruising forward Rudy Turner and senior guard Tony Hooper, who was granted a fifth-year of eligibility after appearing in just four games last season.
"This is a very talented UL-Monroe team," LSU coach Trent Johnson said in a university release. "They return a lot of guys from last year's team. This is a group that has a level of experience, but the case for us is to always get better every day. We're making some progress in that regard."
Tail feathers: Friday's matchup will be the fifth all-time meeting between ULM and LSU, all five meeting have occurred in Baton Rouge and the Warhawks are searching for their first win in the series. .. ULM will return home to host Alcorn State at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 15) at 2 p.m.