NEW ORLEANS – Defending Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball champion Louisiana will officially open its league schedule at home as the 2018-19 men’s and women’s basketball schedules were released by the conference office on Tuesday.
The conference will utilize an 18-game conference schedule for each men’s and women’s basketball program for a third-straight year in 2018-19. The conference schedules will feature a mirror schedule format for the first time as men’s and women’s teams will play at different venues, and not play doubleheaders, over the course of a Thursday-Saturday conference game week.
The 2018-19 conference schedules will feature other aspects from previous seasons as well. In addition to maintaining the Thursday-Saturday format, league contests will continue to be played using travel partners for two-game road trips to maximize rest, minimize travel times and limit missed class time. Men’s and women’s basketball teams will only travel four times for two-game road trips and will each take just one, single-game road trip all season. Those single-game road trips will be for rivalry games. Selected rivalry games will still be played as doubleheaders, per requests from those competing institutions.
Louisiana, which finished 27-7 overall and 16-2 in SBC play last season, opens league play on Jan. 3 against Arkansas State at the Cajundome before facing Little Rock on Jan. 5.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will face SBC rivals South Alabama (Jan. 24) and Troy (Jan. 26) for the only time during the regular-season at the Cajundome while also hosting Georgia Southern (Feb. 7), Georgia State (Feb. 9), ULM (Feb. 16), Coastal Carolina (Feb. 28) and Appalachian State (March 2) at the Cajundome.
A Jan. 10 date at defending SBC Tournament champion Georgia State opens the Ragin’ Cajuns SBC road slate and continues with visits to Georgia Southern (Jan. 12) and ULM (Jan. 19). Louisiana will visit Appalachian State (Jan. 31) and Coastal Carolina (Feb. 2) before heading to face UT Arlington (Feb. 21) and Texas State (Feb. 23) in the only regular-season meeting between the schools.
Louisiana will close out the regular-season on the road for the first time since the 2014-15 season with a trip north beginning on March 7 at Little Rock before facing A-State in Jonesboro on March 9.
The Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championships, which will feature 10 teams, will begin on March 12 with the bottom four seeds playing at campus sites. Eight teams will then advance to compete at New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena beginning on March 14 with the SBC Championship Game scheduled for March 17.
The No. 1 seed and No. 2 seed will receive byes to the semifinals and the No. 3 seed and No. 4 seed to receive byes to the quarterfinals.
Louisiana’s non-conference schedule and TV schedule will be released at a later date.