Basketball: Men & Women Hoops Announces 2017-18 Non-Conference Games
Louisiana hosts Preseason WNIT game at the Cajundome, travels to Las Vegas and meets last season's national runner-up Mississippi State
LAFAYETTE – Hosting a Preseason WNIT game and Auburn at the Cajundome, a trip to Las Vegas and a matchup with last season's national runner-up Mississippi State highlight the 2017-18 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Women's Basketball non-conference schedule released Wednesday.
Louisiana faces teams from SEC, ACC and Big 10, travels to Cayman Islands and plays seven in-state foes
LAFAYETTE – A season-opening trip to Ole Miss that coincides with football's visit to Oxford, a tournament in the Cayman Islands and seven games against in-state foes highlight the 2017-18 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Men's Basketball non-conference schedule released Thursday.
The Ragin' Cajuns will play 13 non-conference games in addition to the previously released 18-game Sun Belt Conference schedule. Tip-off times for all games will be announced at a later date.
Season ticket renewals are currently underway with the deadline set for Aug. 11. Fans who were season ticket holders last season may renew their seat locations online at RaginCajuns.com using Account Manager, or by calling the Cajundome Box Office at (337) 265-2357.
"It's certainly a challenging schedule playing teams from the SEC, ACC and Big 10 as well as several in-state teams," Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Men's Basketball head coach Bob Marlin said. "It's a very competitive schedule that will help season us as we get into Sun Belt Conference play in late December.
"Playing at the Pavilion in Oxford to open the regular season will be part of a nice weekend for our fans as we play Ole Miss in football the following day," Marlin added. "The Cayman Islands Classic should be a fantastic tournament and we're excited to be a part of inaugural event with a great field."
The Ragin' Cajuns host Millsaps College in an exhibition at the Cajundome on Nov. 2 before officially beginning the 2017-18 campaign at Ole Miss on Nov. 10, the evening prior to the football team's matchup with the Rebels.
The first full season in the newly renovated Cajundome begins the next week with contests against Louisiana College (Nov. 14) and Savannah State (Nov. 17). The matchup with Savannah State, ranked sixth nationally in scoring (85.7) and tops in 3-pointers made per game (13.5) last season, is part of the Cayman Islands Classic and falls on UL Lafayette Homecoming Weekend.
Louisiana is in George Town, Cayman Islands Nov. 20-22 for the aforementioned tournament at the brand new John Gray Gymnasium, just minutes away from the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. The Ragin' Cajuns open their stay on the Cayman Islands facing Big 10 opponent Iowa on Nov. 20.
A string of six consecutive games against in-state opponents is next, starting Nov. 28 with I-10 neighbor McNeese inside the Cajundome. The Ragin' Cajuns and Cowboys continue their annual rivalry which was renewed – and has been an annual occurrence since – in November 1998.
The in-state matchups continue into December and include road games at Nicholls (Dec. 1) and Louisiana Tech (Dec. 12) and home games with Loyola-New Orleans (Dec. 6), New Orleans (Dec. 16) and Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 19). The game against SLU is the first between the two schools since Dec. 15, 1984 and only the second since 1971.
"We welcome the opportunity to play in-state schools, continuing some old rivalries and renewing some old ones," Marlin said. "The games against Louisiana Tech and McNeese have always been good for our institutions and we'll be hosting a UNO team that went to the NCAA Tournament last year."
The final non-conference game of the season comes Dec. 22 at ACC-member Clemson. The trip marks a Homecoming for South Carolina native Marcus Stroman.
Following the break for the Christmas holidays, the Ragin' Cajuns open Sun Belt Conference play with the Arkansas road trip Dec. 29-31. This season, the SBC has returned to a Thursday-Saturday doubleheader format for the entire 18-game slate.
Louisiana, coming off its third 20-win season in the past four years, returns four starters from a squad that finished 19th among Division I programs in scoring offense (81.9 ppg.). Frank Bartley and Bryce Washington – both named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team – highlight the returning starters with Johnathan Stove and Justin Miller also returning to the lineup.
Three Division I transfers - JaKeenan Gant (Missouri), Stroman (South Carolina) and Malik Marquetti (USC) – will each make their debuts for the Ragin' Cajuns in 2017-18, along with a strong freshman recruiting class led by former Peabody Magnet standout Cedric Russell.
For more information on Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Men's Basketball, as well as all of Ragin' Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Twitter (@RaginCajunsMBB).