LSU Athletics Creative Services

Coach Wade Meets With Media; NIT Tickets Still On Sale

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – Ticket sales continue for Wednesday’s first round National Invitation Tournament game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center between LSU and the Univeristy of Louisiana Lafayette.

The Tigers and Ragin Cajuns will meet at 6 p.m. in a game video streamed on ESPN3 with the radio broadcast available on the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM the flagship in Baton Rouge).

Tickets remain on sale at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at LSUtix.net. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth tickets ages 3-12.

The Tigers are 17-14 on the year and the Cajuns are 27-6. The winner of this matchup on Wednesday will face the winner of the game between No. 2 Utah and No. 7 UC Davis some time over the weekend.

The NIT is divided into four eight-team pods with the winners of those pods going to New York City later in the March for the national semifinals.

Coach Will Wade, taking his third team in five seasons as a head coach to post-season play, becomes the second LSU basketball coach (joining Trent Johnson) to take a team to post-season play in his first year as the head coach.

Earlier Monday, Wade talked about the upcoming NIT, the opponents, the rule changes and much more as he met with the media:

Opening Statement …
“Excited to keep playing. Getting ready for UL-Lafayette Wednesday. We are certainly going to need to play with a little more intensity than we played with in the SEC Tournament against Mississippi State. It is a good next step for our program to be in the NIT and play in a postseason event, and hopefully have a good home crowd, a lot of purple and gold here. See if we can play well here at home and advance in the tournament.”

On what the postseason does for a team …
“It gives us extra practice time. It gives a little more belief in what we are doing. I think it is a sure sign of progress.”

On what he thinks about the Stephen F. Austin and Houston bids …
“They are all good. I think we were 7-7 against teams that made the tournament. I knew it at the time, but the Marquette game was a back-breaker. We tried to rally our guys pretty good at the time. Stephen F. Austin is a great team. Houston is a great team. Michigan is a great team. The teams in our league are good teams. They call it March Madness for a reason. You look at that bracket and there are no easy games. Every game is a tough game. Some of the teams we have played are in a good position to advance.”

On UL-Lafayette …
“I have watched quite a bit (of tape) these last couple of days. We started watching when they lost. We were pretty sure we were going to play them. They are experienced, they are older. They have four transfers who start. The point guard who starts is a transfer from South Carolina (Marcus Stroman). Two guard started off at BYU (Frank Bartley). He is from Baton Rouge, he won a state title. The three man, (Malik) Marquetti is from USC. The four man (JaKeenan) Gant, was sick for the conference tournament. They probably would have won their conference if he doesn’t get sick. They won the regular season, not the tournament. He is obviously a transfer from Missouri. They are older. They are thick. The kid Bryce Washington, their five man, is a very good player. I watched him play in high school when he was at St. Augustine. Cedric Russell was supposed to visit us at VCU. He was obviously committed to LSU at some point. Went to Peabody in Alexandria. Their best three-point player. Johnathan Stove was a kid I recruited at Chattanooga. Jerekius Davis from Mississippi was a guy we recruited at Chattanooga right before we left. We know their roster, we know they have really good players. Coach (Bob) Marlin is a good coach. You don’t win 27 games if you don’t have a good team. They have good thick bodies and older kids, kids that have been around the block.

On playing the game with a smaller lineup in the SEC Tournament …
“It was all we had to go to. The other guys didn’t play very well. It was what we had to go to.”

On Brandon Rachal
“Rachal has been playing really well. I think he is finally coming to grips with what his role is. It may not be exactly what he wants it to be. I think he is understanding what we need him to do. He really is a help for us defensively with his IQ, his toughness. He gives us a rebounding presence we don’t have. Offensively he has found his way. He is cutting a lot harder, staying around the rim, doing what he needs to do around the basket, which makes the other team have to guard and account for him. When you do that, we can keep him out there for an extended period of time.”

On Cajuns’ rebounding ability being an issue …
“Bryce Washington is one of five kids in the country that averages a double-double. I think he was second in the country in rebounding in February. Rebounding would certainly be a concern. That is not one of our strengths. That would be a concern. The kid Gant can really fly in there. The sophomore from Kentucky, (Justin Miller) big, thick, wide bodied. He can get in there and rebound. Their guards rebound. Bartley, the two man, can rebound so it is going to be an issue for us.”

On how he thinks his team views the opportunity to play in the NIT …
“We will see. I am going to meet with them in a little bit. I know myself and our coaching staff are excited. I expect my players will be excited. There were excited when we talked about it before. It is a great opportunity for us to keep playing and to play in competitive, highly charged games. We have to lift our level of play and play better than we have been playing.”

On the strengths that Louisiana-Lafayette has …
“They are very physical. I love their two guard, number four. The way he guards, chases screens, blows up every screen. He played here in Baton Rouge in high school. He and Stove won a state title here. He is a transfer form BYU. Physical kid. I love him. He makes shots. They are a good team. There is a reason they won 27 games. We are going to need to play well. Their physicality stuck out to me. I thought they were very physical on tape. They have a lot of like-size guys. A lot of guys who are 6’4” or 6’6” who are thick and they can switch. They are versatile in that way.”

On if he thinks the rule changes will have an impact …
“We will see. We are going to talk to our guys about that today. A lot of it is similar to FIBA rules. The 10 minute quarters and the fouls and that sort of thing. It may be a slight adjustment, but we will be fine.”

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