Feb 14, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT
With seven members slated to leave the Western Athletic Conference at the end of this academic year, much of the press surrounding the conference has focused on realignment and the next step.
However the WAC is also the home (at least for one more season) of one of just eight teams in college basketball that are currently undefeated in conference play: Louisiana Tech.
Michael White’s Bulldogs are 12-0 in WAC play and 21-3 overall, winning games despite having just one player averaging double figures in the scoring department (sophomore guard Raheem Appleby leads the way with an average of 14.5 points per game). So why have the Bulldogs been so successful? Defense.
Whether it’s over 94 feet or in the half court doesn’t matter to Louisiana Tech, whose use of ball pressure has led to them forcing an average of 17.5 turnovers per game. Opponents turn the ball over on more than 24% of their possessions according to statsheet.com, and Louisiana Tech’s 8.6 steals per game rank second in the WAC (Denver- 9.6 spg).
Add to this the fact that in conference games they rank second in field goal percentage defense (38.9%) and first in three-point percentage defense (27.5%) and it isn’t difficult to see why Coach White’s team has enjoyed so much success.
“The kids have bought into playing hard,” White noted in an interview with NBC Sports. “We like to pressure and we have the depth needed to play it consistently.
“Our depth keeps guys sharp, and it allows us to substitute for execution or effort [if needed].”
Louisiana Tech is able to pressure more this season than last due in part to the improvement shown by sophomore forward Michale Kyser, who leads the WAC in blocked shots (3.3 blocks/game).
“His progress has been integral,” White said of Kyser. “His earning more minutes allows us to extend our pressure.”
Kyser still has work to do offensively in addition to getting physically stronger, but he’s another of the Bulldogs who have found a way in which to make an impact. The key for Louisiana Tech going forward: becoming more consistent offensively, as they’re shooting just 39.8% from the field.
“It would be easier if we had four or five consistent options,” said White. “It’s not our strength and we’ve been inconsistent on that end of the floor.”
When the shots aren’t falling successful teams find a way to get stops, and that’s why a Louisiana Tech squad picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll finds itself in control of the WAC race.
Oct 31, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Another SEC school used a similar system on its way to a national title game appearance in 2000.
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Oct 31, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
News and notes from the world of college basketball recruiting.
Oct 31, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Despite 29 wins (13 in conference play) Louisiana Tech missed out on the NCAA tournament. Michael White looks to change that this season, although, his team will have to go through the likes of UTEP and newcomer Western Kentucky, first.
Oct 31, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 11:37 AM EDT
No surprise that Kentucky’s on top. Also of note: No. 3 Wisconsin received more first-place votes than No. 2 Arizona.
Oct 31, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
The Cincinnati transfer was expected to factor into a rotation that’s replacing five seniors from last season’s team.
Oct 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
Is this team better than Philly?
Oct 30, 2014, 11:53 PM EDT
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Oct 30, 2014, 10:41 PM EDT
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Oct 30, 2014, 8:58 PM EDT
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Oct 30, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
I can do that.
Oct 30, 2014, 7:26 PM EDT
John Egbunu was an American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team selection at USF last season.
Oct 30, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
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Oct 30, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT
Chris Clarke is a perfect fit for Donnie Tyndall.
Oct 30, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
The Golden Griffins have to account for the loss of four starters from last season’s 21-win team.
Oct 30, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT
Feel free to take this as my challenge to you all.
Oct 30, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT
North Carolina should be a national title contender, but they do have some question marks.
Oct 30, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
Dayton head coach Archie Miller spurned high-major programs to remain at Atlantic 10. He’s not the only one in the league happy with where they are.
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