- Las Vegas ,NV
For a majority of the basketball season Louisiana Tech has dominated the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs at one point in the season had won 18 straight games and were considered the hottest team in the nation.
"They're a good basketball team. It's no fluke that they won our conference," said UTSA Head Coach Brooks Thompson.
In fact the Bulldogs have struggled of late, dropping their last two conference games of the season on the road to Denver and New Mexico State. La Tech shared the regular season WAC championship with Denver.
The Bulldogs boast two of the five all-conference first teamers in guards Raheem Appleby and Kenneth Smith. La Tech Head Coach Michael White was named the WAC Coach of the Year just last week.
"They're really good, they're really well coached," said Thompson." They're long, athletic and they can shoot the ball. They pressure, force you to try and speed up."
La Tech does not have a huge size disparity over UTSA, something that has given the ‘Runners problems over throughout the course of the season. However, UTSA does not necessarily see that as an advantage.
"They are guard heavy but that makes it tough against the press because they're really quick. It doesn't give us an advantage. They're still long and athletic and rebound the ball well," said Thompson.
UTSA feels like it can have some success against the Bulldogs. Back in January La Tech sqeaked by UTSA 73-71. Kannon Burrage had a career high 29 points but was unable to convert on a game-winning drive.
"We were really successful against them our first game at home," said Thomposon." We felt like we should have won that basketball game."
In the second matchup of the season UTSA struggled early on in Ruston. The ‘Runners got behind really quick and were unable to recover.
"We turned the ball over. We weren't very good against the press. The first game we really attacked their press and got some transition baskets," said Thompson.
A trend that has emerged with La Tech's two recent losses is turnovers. In both losses the Bulldogs have had 16+ turnovers.
For UTSA, it will be critical for the offense to hit on all cylinders. The UTSA Big 3 (Kannon Burrage, Jeromie Hill, and Michael Hale III) have all been playing well.
"We're really focused in," said Thompson. "We're going to play the way that we play."
Note:Forward Jeromie Hill suffered what appeared to be a slight knee injury late in the game on Tuesday against San Jose State. Hill is said to be good to go for tonight's game.