LAFAYETTE (PRESS RELEASE) – Road games against Kansas and Tennessee, two of the top three teams in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI), a Thanksgiving Week appearance at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida along with three in-state road games highlight the 2018-19 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns non-conference road schedule that was released on Monday.
Louisiana, which released its home schedule last week highlighted by contests against Southern (Dec. 1) and Louisiana Tech (Dec. 15) in non-conference play, will open its road schedule on Nov. 9 against Tennessee in the NIT Season Tipoff.
“It’s a challenging schedule that will test us early with games at top-10 programs Tennessee and Kansas in the first two weeks of the season,” head coach Bob Marlin said. “The Gulf Coast Showcase will be an opportunity for us to play three games in a row against quality teams. It’s always good preparation for us in getting ready for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Our fans and alums outside of the Lafayette area will have a chance to watch us play in-state games in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Hammond after Thanksgiving and heading into (SBC) conference play.”
Tennessee, the defending SEC champions, enters the 2018-19 season ranked No. 3 in ESPN’s BPI rankings. The Volunteers, who were picked to finish 13th last season in the 14-team league, finished 26-9 overall last season and reached the second round of the NCAA Championships where it was upset by eventual Final Four participant Loyola-Chicago.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will return to action one week later in the NIT Season Tipoff, traveling to historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse to face Final Four participant Kansas. The 14-time defending Big 12 champions and the Preseason No. 1 team in ESPN’s BPI rankings, posted a 31-8 record last season and reached their 15th Final Four in school history.
The game against Kansas will mark the first of four games in six days for Louisiana, that will conclude with three games in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla. The three-day, eight-team tournament, which runs from Nov. 19-21, will include a field that features host Florida Gulf Coast, Colorado State, South Dakota State, Toledo, UTSA and Tulane. The complete tournament field and official bracket will be released at a later date.
Louisiana will end the month of November with the first of seven consecutive games within the state as it will visit New Orleans on Nov. 28 at Lakefront Arena. After four straight games at home for the Ragin’ Cajuns in the month of December, Louisiana will close out non-conference action with road games on Dec. 18 at McNeese State and Dec. 29 at defending Southland Conference co-champion Southeastern Louisiana.
Louisiana 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 3) at the Cajundome.