Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Basketball One Step Closer to the Top 25
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have shocked a lot of people this season with their record and their current 11-game winning streak. The 'Dogs haven't lost this year. (Literally.)
With a 19-3 record and a perfect 10-0 mark in conference play, this young team coached by Michael White has yet to see its name in the Top 25. But as a little bit of motivation, they have received eight points in AP votes.
The reason for this is that their strength of schedule is nowhere strong enough to prove they can hang with the big boys. The most significant opponent on their schedule is Texas A&M, which the 'Dogs lost to 71-59.
Tech has a lot of young talent on its squad that can surely pull an upset on many of the NCAA's Top 25 if given the chance. Their sophomore point guard Kenneth "Speedy" Smith is one of the most energetic and selfless guards in the league, and sophomore Raheem Appleby may fool the world with his more-than-slender body type (6'3", 160 Ibs), but the guy can score. Appleby's currently leading the team with an average of 14.4 points per contest and he can finish.
There are two things that make the Bulldogs different.
Anybody on their roster can take over the game at any given moment, so double-teaming one player won't do much damage to the team. For example, redshirt senior forward Brandon Gibson dropped 20 points on Utah State, senior Cordarius Johnson scored 23 points against University of Louisiana-Monroe, junior guard Kenyon McNeail scorched UTSA with 34 points coming off the bench.
The second thing is, everybody on this squad wants to play defense. Coach White is a defensive-minded coach who doesn't care how many points you can score, but how bad you want to stop the other team from doing so. They have a monster shot-blocker in Michale Kyser, who ranks seventh nationally with 3.32 blocks per game.
The 'Dogs play a 2-2-1 full-court press for the majority of every game the past two seasons and their guards look excited to play it every time. This press is so passive-aggressive that either they will get a steal off an impatient pass, or by time the offense gets the ball pass half court, there is barely time to run a decent play.
The 'Dogs have everything they need (except a dominant post-up player) to compete against the best in the nation. They have plenty of time to make it into the national rankings if they remain undefeated in the last eight games of conference play and may be able to prove themselves further by playing some top-caliber teams in the NCAA tournament.
Whoever gets the 'Dogs in the tournament ought to not sleep on them because they may be in for a rude awakening against potentially ranked talent.
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