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Wolfpack, Ragin' Cajuns Battle in First Round

NC State (#3 20-9) opens NCAA Tournament play against Louisiana-Lafayette (#14 20-8). Game time is set for 12:15 p.m. and will be televised on CBS. <P> <a href="'','mbaskblGameTracker','toolbar=no,resizable=no,scrollbars=no,width=780,height=540'); void('');">Game Tracker</a> <P> <b>Watch it at <a href="">Woody's at City Market!</a></b>

Cajuns lost to Georgia Tech in the NIT 79-45

NC State (#3 20-9) vs. La-Lafayette (#14 20-8)
T.D. Waterhouse Centre (17,248 basketball seating)
12:15 p.m. CBS
Orlando, Florida
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Louisiana-Lafayette Official Site

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"I think we got a great spot. I think we're capable of beating them. They're from the ACC, and I know they play tough competition, but everybody is tough now." –- Louisiana-Lafayette Senior Guard Brad Boyd 3/16/2004

Louisiana-Lafayette Scouting Report

Quickchart Matchup
Louisiana-Lafayette Off vs.
No. Carolina St. Def
No. Carolina St. Off vs.
Louisiana-Lafayette Def
76.3 Pts F
65.2 Pts A
46.3 FG%
42.4 FG%
31.0 Reb.
30.5 Reb.
73.3 Pts F
69.9 Pts A
45.2 FG%
44.3 FG%
30.6 Reb.
33.0 Reb.

Invitation to the Big Dance: UL Lafayette was awarded the No. 14 seed in the Phoenix Region of the tournament after winning the Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Championship over in-state rival New Orleans, 67-58, on March 9 in Bowling Green, Ky. The Cajuns enter the NCAA Tournament on a five-game winning streak and have won 14 of their last 17 overall. N.C. State (20-9) is the No. 3 seed in the Phoenix Region, and was an at-large selection into the tournament after finishing as the runner-up in the regular season standings of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Pack lost to eventual ACC Tournament champion Maryland in the tournament's semifinals.

Louisiana-Lafayette coach Jessie Evans
Louisiana-Lafayette Head Coach Jessie Evans: Cajun Coach Jessie Evans has led Lousiana-Lafayette to five straight winning seasons and three consecutive post season berths. He has turned Lafayette into the perennial power of the Sun Belt conference, having won the 2003-04 regular season and tournament championship. Evans is no stranger to the NCAA and certainly knows the way to the tournament, a tradition that has marked his 26-year coaching career wherever he has served. Evans guided the Cajuns to the Big Dance in 2000 and has been knocking at the doorstep the past two seasons only to come up just short. He helped bring Arizona a national championship in 1997 and was an assistant with the Wildcats for nine straight NCAA Tournament berths. Overall in his career, he has been a part of 559 wins to just 269 losses. Evans' overall record at Louisiana-Lafayette is 141-86.

Probable Starting Lineup: PG Antoine Landry (SR, 5'11 170) - 13.2 PPG 43.4% 3PT%, G Dwayne Mitchell (SO, 6'4 205) - 9.5 PPG 4.4 RPG, G Laurie Bridges (JR, 6'6 205) - 10.3 PPG 6.0 RPG, F Brian Hamilton (JR, 6'6 185) - 11.5 PPG 6.9 RPG, C Chris Cameron (SO, 6'11 255) - 6.4 PPG 3.3 RPG

Player Scouting Report: UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

No Sun Belt Respect: While they didn't win any of the major awards, Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team took regular season and tournament championships by placing a league-high three players on the All-Sun Belt Conference team (none on the first team). Seniors Laurie Bridges and Antoine Landry along with junior transfer Brian Hamilton were all named to the league's all-conference team as voted on by coaches and selected media. Bridges earned second team honors while Hamilton and Landry were third team members. For all three, it was their first time being named to the All-Sun Belt team.

All-Time Three-Point Cajun King: Senior guard Brad Boyd, coming off a season in which he drained 104 three-pointers, entered the 2003-04 season needing just 76 three-point baskets to break Sydney Grider's career record of 253 three-point field goals made...Three weeks ago at North Texas, Boyd's third and final triple of the game eclipsed Sidney Grider, giving him his 76th three-pointer of the season and 254th in his career as he etched his name in the record books.

Dishing It Out: One of the key ingredients to the Cajuns success this season has been their ability and willingness to share the basketball... Six (6) different players have tallied 30-plus assists... Three of the six have tallied 80-plus assists... Brad Boyd leads the way with 102 assists followed by 88 from Laurie Bridges... Bridges' assists total is a new single-season best eclipsing the 59 from last season... Dwayne Mitchell has 83 completing the trio which ranks in the Top 10 in the Sun Belt for assists per game... As a team, the Cajuns average a Sun Belt-best 16.6 apg and have hit 20-plus five times.

Fast Break Points

Louisiana-Lafayette is 20-8 — Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament champions.
Louisiana-Lafayette is 4-8 all-time in seven NCAA appearances.
The Cajuns last tournament win came during the 1992 event when the 13th-seeded Cajuns of then-USL downed fourth-seeded Oklahoma 87-83.
Teams seeded 13th or lower in the NCAA Tournament have been first-round "giant killers" 34 times in the past 19 years.
The No. 14 seed has picked up a win 13 times.
Seventeen percent of the games between the three seed and 14th seed since 1985 have been won by the lower seeded team.
UL is 1-2 in NCAA Tournament openers since the tournament expanded to 64 teams.
Turnover Advantage: UL Lafayette has had a decisive advantage in the turnover department this season... The Cajuns have induced 499 turnovers from their opponents in 28 games (17.8 per game) while committing only 404 (14.4 per game)... The Cajuns sport a +3.4 turnover margin – a tally which is tops in the Sun Belt Conference... UL Lafayette is 15-2 this season when committing fewer turnovers, 3-5 when committing more turnovers and 2-1 when turnovers are equal.

Idenity Crisis: Memo From the Cajun Media Relation Department... Please use the following guidelines when referencing the Ragin' Cajuns athletics program. We are Louisiana-Lafayette. Our instituion's official name is The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. However, for athletic purposes use Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns, Louisiana-Lafayette or UL Lafayette. Please do not refer to us as ULL, UL Laf., La.-Lafayette or Lafayette. Please refrain from using just "Lafayette" for that is a whole other college. For scoreboards Cajuns or Louisiana is preferred if they fit, but never ULL or UL Laf. We thank you in advance for your cooperation regarding this matter. GEAUX CAJUNS!!!!!

They Said it: Jessie Evans… "They're one of the premier teams in the tournament. They have all their bases covered — they're athletic, big, physical, they can shoot from the perimeter and can bang inside."

Herb Sendek… "I saw a little bit of Louisiana-Lafayette during their Sun Belt championship game. I was extremely impressed with what I saw. They're an excellent basketball team. They have tremendous personnel, they're pretty deep, they shoot the ball...they're a very athletic team. It's a very, very challenging first round game."

The Cajun Stakes: A Cajuns Win Would... Give the program its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1992 when then-USL defeated fourth seed Oklahoma 87-83 in the first round of the NCAA West Region in Tempe Ariz...Be the first NCAA Tournament and postseason victory under head coach Jessie Evans...Improve the Cajuns to 5-8 all-time in NCAA Tournament play...Give the Sun Belt Conference an NCAA Tournament win of the first time since 1995 when Western Kentucky defeated Michigan. A Cajuns Loss Would... Eliminate the Cajuns from the NCAA Tournament and conclude the 2003-04 season...Mark the Cajuns third straight loss in NCAA Tournament play...Keep head coach Jessie Evans winless (0-4) in postseason play...Drop the Cajuns to 4-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament play...Keep Sun Belt schools winless in the Big Dance for the eighth straight season.

Key Match-Up: Cajun Experience vs. Wolfpack Desire. Let's be straight up here. La-Lafayette can beat NC State. They are a senior/guard oriented team and that always bodes well in the NCAA Tournament. Also, this is not your average mid-major team. The Cajuns are loaded with transfer kids that have experienced big time basketball. Florida, Texas A&M, Auburn all have seen players transfer to this year's Lafayette team. On top of that, this team knows how to win championships. If NC State looks beyond the opening game, to Vanderbilt or even Connecticut, The Pack will be sent home early. Julius Hodge has talked a lot about hunger this year. He also has said in the past that he came to NC State to win national championships. This may be his last chance to feast and bring the trophy to Raleigh. Speculation is that he will put his name in the draft. Tip-off is at 12:15 p.m. on Friday. Hodge, Melvin and crew need to worry about one thing... surviving to advance.

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Louisiana-Lafayette's Brad Boyd (3) is the second leading scorer (12.1 ppg) for the Cajuns (AP Photo/Wily Low)

No Name Pos Ht Wt Yr City (High School)
3 Brad Boyd G 6-6 195   SR Opelousas, La./St. Thomas More HS
4 Antoine Landry G 5-11 170   SR New Orleans, La./De La Salle HS
5 Orien Greene G 6-4 209   JR Gainesville, Fla./Florida
11 Chris Cameron F/C 6-11 256   SO Melbourne, Australia/Box Hill Secondary
13 Alphonso Williams G 6-2 193   So Cecilia, La./Cecilia HS
15 Chris Cucchiara G 6-2 175   FR Covington, La./St. Paul's HS
21 Laurie Bridges G 6-4 206   FR New Orleans, La./G.W. Carver HS
22 Ross Mouton G/F 6-7 189   FR Lafayette, La./St. Thomas More HS
23 Dwayne Mitchell G 6-4 204   SO New Orleans, La./Auburn
30 Matt Foster G 6-7 205   FR St. Louis, Mo./Brewster Academy
31 Rhett Hebert G 6-1 165 FR Erath, La./Erath HS
34 Adam James F/C 6-9 252   FR Lafayette, La./St. Thomas More HS
41 Chris Williams F 6-9 204   SR Los Angeles, Calif./Missouri-Kansas City
42 Cedric Williams F 6-7 227   JR Houston, Texas/Northshore HS
45 Brian Hamilton F 6-6 186   JR Missouri City, Texas/Texas A&M-CC

Key Individual Stats:

3-POINT FG: Boyd 92-256, .359; Landry 75-173, .434; Greene 30-78, .385; Bridges 28-75, .373; Mitchell 3-11, .273; Foster 2-5, .400; Mouton 1-3, .333; Cameron 0-12, .000. TOTALS 232-616, .377. OPP: 177-550, .322.

REBOUNDS: Hamilton 192, 6.9; Bridges 167, 6.0; Mitchell 111, 4.4; Cedric Williams 97, 4.2; Cameron 93, 3.3; Greene 76, 4.5; Landry 62, 2.2; Boyd 45, 1.6; Mouton 12, 1.0; Chris Williams 12, 1.0; Foster 6, 0.7; James 5, 2.5; A. Williams 2, 0.5. Team 76. TOTALS 956, 34.1. OPP: 1002, 35.8.

ASSISTS: Boyd 102, Bridges 88, Mitchell 84, Hamilton 53, Greene 48, Landry 46, Cameron 23, Cedric Williams 17, Mouton 3, Cucchiara 1, Chris Williams 1. TOTALS 465. OPP: 352.

STEALS: Hamilton 54, Mitchell 45, Bridges 41, Greene 36, Boyd 24, Landry 18, Cedric Williams 18, Cameron 11, James 2, Mouton 1, Foster 1. TOTALS 251. OPP: 153.

BLOCKED SHOTS: Mitchell 13, Hamilton 12, Cameron 12, Bridges 8, Greene 6, Boyd 2, Cedric Williams 2, Mouton 2, Landry 1, Chris Williams 1, Foster 1. TOTALS 60. OPP: 79.

Thanks to Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns official site for much of the information in this preview.

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