No. 1 Seed LA Tech Gearing Up for C-USA Quarterfinals

March 12, 2014

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EL PASO, Texas - There are a lot of similarities in this year's team and last year's team - a 25-win season, a share of a conference championship and a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

However, the big difference is momentum. Instead of going into the Conference USA tourney on a two-game losing streak like last season, Louisiana Tech is on a four-game winning streak and playing some of its best basketball.

The Bulldogs look to carry that momentum into the quarterfinal matchup on Thursday night against the winner of No. 8 UAB and No. 9 Charlotte at 9:30 p.m. CT inside the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.

"We talked about three in three days last year and we are not going there this year," said head coach Michael White. "We are not worried about the tournament per say. We are worried about that first game. We are worried about winning Thursday night and that is it.

"We know that UAB or Charlotte, whoever it is, is going to be a tall task for us. We had to play very well to beat Charlotte [at home]. They have beaten some really good teams. Then we defended our butts off a week or two ago at UAB. We will have to make some adjustments with whoever it is and we will have to try to be better than we were before because we know that with film in hand both of those teams will be better versus us."

Even though LA Tech (25-6) will not know until late Wednesday night who they play, their concentration has been predominantly on defense which has been the anchor of the team this season and especially the past two weeks.

During the past four victories, the Bulldogs have held their opponents to a combined average of 52.8 points per game while forcing an average of 15.3 turnovers per contest as well.

With this effort, it was no shock that Kenneth Smith and Michale Kyser were recently named to the C-USA All-Defensive team with Speedy also taking home Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Offensively, it has been the driving force of senior Chris Anderson as of late that has propelled the `Dogs. The forward was the team's leading scorer in the past two games at UAB (20 points) and at Rice (17 points).

The tournament is bound to be a very competitive, wide open event, but LA Tech is squarely focused on just one game in its first appearance in in the C-USA Tournament.

"It would be hard to argue with saying that [the top five seeds] aren't the favorites, but two others that jump to mind are the two potential teams that we are going to play in UAB or Charlotte," said White. "They are talented. They have five or six high major wins between the two of them and are both extremely capable.

"Both are talented and both are deep enough to beat us. Both will be very prepared. At the end of the day it is conference tournament time. A lot of things are thrown out the window. There are a bunch of teams in El Paso that are going to play their hearts out just trying to advance."

The Bulldogs defeated Charlotte (16-13) way back on Jan. 23 in Ruston, 80-60, in a game that saw the `Dogs force 24 turnovers and outrebound a physical 49ers front court.

UAB (18-12) is much fresher on the mind of LA Tech as the two teams played in Birmingham, Ala. less than two weeks ago.

The Blazers were held to just 22 second half points and their leading scorer Chad Frazier connected on only 4-of-17 shooting for 10 points as the Bulldogs won 67-58.

The contest can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will have the call with pregame starting at 9 p.m. CT. can also access live audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.

Live video is also available through a subscription on the Conference USA Digital Network at www.ConferenceUSA.com.

Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.

 

 

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