Millsap is one Ragin' Cajun

Tennessee's basketball fans will get their first look at Louisiana-Lafayette's Elijah Millsap this evening ... and so will Tennessee's basketball players.

Millsap sat out last year's game with the Vols but the home-standing Ragin' Cajuns nearly pulled off the upset even without him. They trailed by just two points with 4:24 left before ultimately losing 77-67.

Once Millsap joined the team, he provided immediate impact, winning Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year recognition for 2006-07. He seems to be picking up where he left off in 2007-08.

Elijah Millsap, whose brother Paul plays for the NBA's Utah Jazz, is leading ULL in scoring (17.8 points per game) and rebounding (7.8 per game) as a sophomore this season. At 6-6 and 211-pounds, he'll probably be matched up against Tennessee's Tyler Smith when the Vols and Cajuns collide tonight at 7:30 in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Millsap has been pretty much the whole show for Lafayette, which stands 1-3 after suffering a 78-72 loss to Alabama Birmingham on Tuesday night. The Cajuns' next-best player is 6-5 guard David Doss, who is second on the team in both points (10.0) and rebounds (5.5).

ULL's other starters are 6-9, 240-pound Abray Milson (3.0 points, 3.8 rebounds), 6-7, 209-pound La'Ryan Gary (5.8 points, 2.0 rebounds) and 6-1, 182-pound Willie Lago (3.0 points, 2.5 assists).

"They are another athletic team, and they are picked to finish in the upper portion of the Sun Belt Conference," UT coach Bruce Pearl said. "This is the third year in a row we have played them, so there is some familiarity there.

The Ragin' Cajuns haven't shown a lot of familiarity with the basket this season, however, hitting a mere 39.7 percent from the floor.

The Vols, 6-1 and ranked No. 11 nationally by The Associated Press, are expected to go with their recent lineup of Chris Lofton (15.3 points per game) and JaJuan Smith (14.7) at the wings, with Wayne Chism (9.4) in the post, Tyler Smith (12.1) at power forward and Jordan Howell (5.9) at the point. Ramar Smith averages 10.3 ppg off the bench.

Pearl said tonight's game is "more about us than our opponent," adding that "We would like to use this week to work on some things."

Point-guard play, for instance. Ramar Smith started Games 1, 2 and 3 but had four-turnover games against Temple and Prairie View, with an 0-for-12 foul-shooting performance in the latter. Howell, who started Games 4 through 7, struggled defensively with Texas' super-quick guards last Saturday and hit just 2 of 11 shots with four turnovers in 20 minutes Tuesday against North Carolina A&T.

Tonight's game concludes the busiest November in program history. This will be the Vols' eighth game of the month, eclipsing by one the record set last year.


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