Tennessee may just be in for a little bit of an early test on Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols will welcome in the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, formerly known as Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-0 on the year, looking to build off of a 27 win campaign and a conference title last year. Coach Bob Marlin was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year for his efforts in 2018-19, leading Louisiana to an appearance in the NIT, where they lost to LSU.
Louisiana lost two all-conference performers from last year’s squad, but do return three starters this year. JaKeenan Gant leads the charge, returning as the reigning Sun Belt defensive player of the year. The 6-8, 215 pound forward would give just about anyone in the country problems.
Marcus Stroman — a transfer from South Carolina — leads the Ragin’ Cajun’s backcourt and could provide a challenge for Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden tonight.
Luckily for Tennessee, they are well-equipped to handle Gant. He’ll have to negotiate through a Volunteer defense which features one of the better anchors in college basketball, Kyle Alexander.
Tennessee is looking to build off their success last season, which featured an SEC regular season title and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They’re off to a 1-0 start after a breeze of a win against DII Lenoir-Rhyne, but tonight will be a much stiffer test.
Tip-off time: 7 PM Eastern, November 9th
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
TV Channel: None
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Radio: Vol Network
Odds: Tennessee -16.5