No. 1 Seed LA Tech Ready for C-USA Quarterfinals
March 11, 2015
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A brand new season starts on Thursday night for Louisiana Tech as the No. 1 seed Bulldogs will take on either North Texas or Rice in the Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. inside Legacy Arena at the BJCC.
The contest will be televised by the American Sports Network with Dave Armstrong and Tim Scarborough calling the action.
LA Tech (24-7) enters the tourney with a lot of momentum, having won the last three games at home to clinch the outright conference regular season title, the team's first since 1999.
"This tournament is up for grabs," head coach Michael White said. "We know one of two teams that we play, then we will move forward after Thursday night if we are fortunate to beat either Rice or North Texas. It will be a tough road. It is going to be hard to win three in three days. It is a big opportunity for us. We are capable; we just have to put it all together. We have to win the first one first."
The title adds to the list of many accomplishments the Bulldogs have had under coach White - three regular season titles, top seed in the league tournament each of the past three years and two tournament title appearances.
The one obvious thing that has eluded them though is a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the `Dogs easily handled Charlotte and Southern Miss to advance to the championship game to be only 40 minutes away from the Big Dance but they ran out of steam against Tulsa, losing 69-60 in El Paso, Texas.
LA Tech will be led by their all-conference backcourt of Kenneth Smith, Raheem Appleby and Alex Hamilton. Speedy was also honored as an all-defensive team member and was named the C-USA Player of the Year.
"We are led by our backcourt and those three guys have been terrific all year and it is good to see them recognized," White said. "These seniors will continue to lead, as well as Alex. My big message to these guys all week is Thursday night and that is it. You want to win three in three days and the only way to do that is to win in the semi-finals.
"The only way to do that is to win on Thursday. That should be our only focus, Rice or North Texas. I am as eager as anyone to find out who it is going to be."
During the regular season, LA Tech played both teams on the road, losing 73-66 to the Mean Green in Denton and winning 58-45 versus the Owls in Houston.
North Texas (14-16) handed the Bulldogs their first conference loss of the season back on Jan. 22. LA Tech came back from a 21-point deficit in the second half to pull it to within one, but NT held on for the win.
The `Dogs did a complete 180 turn on defense to the next game, allowing the opponent Rice to shoot just 33 percent from the field with only five made three-pointers which led to a road victory.
Fans can access live audio of the game via the internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at LATechSports.com. The contest can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield). The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz and Jack Thigpen will call the action.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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