The Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns will head on the road to Allen Fieldhouse on Friday night for a tough non-conference showdown against the No.2-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas was usurped in the AP Top-25 Poll despite not taking a loss last week. The Jayhawks already have an impressive win over their resume, defeating No. 10-ranked Michigan State 92-87 for their first Quadrant 1 win of the season. However, the committee has been unable to ignore Duke’s dominance, and thus, the Jayhawks were forced to take a step back in the national conversation, despite having one of the most well-rounded rosters in all of college basketball.
Gant making an early season impression for Ragin’ Cajuns
Louisiana Lafayette dominated the Sun Belt last season, going 16-2 in league play en route to a regular season title, but a loss to UT-Arlington in the conference tournament forced the Ragin’ Cajuns to settle for an NIT bid. The Ragin’ Cajuns lost plenty of firepower during the offseason with the departures of star guard Frank Bartley (17.8 ppg), forward Bryce Washington (10.4 ppg) and Jonathan Stove (10.1 ppg), but this team still has enough talent left to once again compete for a conference title. The most notable returnee is JaKeenan Gant, who posted 13.7 points and 5.8 rebounds as a junior last year. He will be joined in the starting lineup by fellow seniors Malik Marquetti and Marcus Stroman, who dished out 6.5 assists per game last year.
— Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® Men's Basketball (@RaginCajunsMBB) December 17, 2017
The Ragin’ Cajuns enter Friday’s matchup ranked No. 123 in the KenPom rankings following their 87-65 defeat on the road against Tennessee. Gant led the team in scoring with 18 points, while Marcus Stroman added 11 points and handed out nine assists in a losing effort. Justin Miller came off of the bench to finish as the only other player in double-figures for the Ragin’ Cajuns with 10 points. Bob Marlin’s squad comes in scoring just 105.4 points per 100 possessions so far this season (94th in the NCAA) and allowing 101.8 points per 100 possessions (160th in the NCAA) on the defensive end of the floor. They allowed an effective field goal percentage of 61.1 percent (329th in the NCAA) in their lone DI game against Tennessee and will have a tough time improving on that mark against a markedly better Kansas team.
Lawson held scoreless, Jawhawks run away with win over Vermont
Kansas was able to overcome a dud from star forward Dedric Lawson and still come away with a 15-point victory at home against Vermont in the NIT Season Tip-Off. LaGerald Vick caught fire from three-point range, hitting all eight of his attempts from beyond the arc en route to a game-high 32 points, while Udoka Azubuike added 23 points and 10 boards to help the Jayhawks take care of business 84-69 at home against Vermont. Lawson finished the night 0-for-6 from the field with zero points and four fouls in 19 minutes of action.
Dedric Lawson will be eligible this year for the Kansas Jayhawks. Lawson is a 6'9 highly productive forward that fills up all the stats. Dedric posted a per 40 min stat-line of 22.2 PPG, 1.1 3PM, 7.7 FTA, 11.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, and 2.5 BPG when he last played at Memphis in 2016-17. pic.twitter.com/wUUND7Ll2H
— NBA Draft Wire (@NBADraftWire) September 2, 2018
Despite falling to No. 2 in the AP Poll, Kansas still holds the top spot in the KenPom rankings with and adjusted efficiency margin of 28.65 so far this season. They come in scoring 117.1 points per 100 possessions (3rd in the NCAA), while limiting opposing teams to just 88.4 points per 100 possessions (4th in the NCAA) on the defensive end of the floor. The Jayhawks are shooting a blistering 52.4 percent from three-point range (6th in the NCAA) for the season, while turning the ball over on just 15.3 percent of their offensive possessions (48th in the NCAA) heading into play on Friday night.
- Jayhawks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Friday games.
- Jayhawks are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Jayhawks are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points.
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big 12.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Ragin’ Cajuns gave up plenty of easy looks under the basket against Tennessee and will be up against an overmatched front line in this game. Not to mention, the Jayhawks have several players that can shoot the lights out from long range. That means Louisiana Lafayette is going to have its hands full in this one. Kansas ranks in the top-5 in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency so far this season and first in net rating, which has me leaning towards the Jayhawks covering the spread at home in this matchup against a top-tier mid-major program.
Prediction: Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -21.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Kansas has gone under the projected total in just three of their last 16 games. In fact, they’ve gone over the total in six straight non-conference matchups and 16 of their last 22 home games. With Dedric Lawson fresh off of a donut in the scoring column against Vermont, I would expect Bill Self and company to get their star forward plenty involved in this game. The Ragin’ Cajuns rank among the worst teams in terms of effective field goal percentage defense heading into this game and they will have their hands full with a Kansas team that can score efficiently from everywhere on the floor. Look for this game to go over the projected total at Allen Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Prediction: Over 159.5