Stephen F. Austin Basketball

Behind Enemy Lines: SFA at Louisiana Tech Q&A with BleedTechBlue

December 5, 2017
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The toughest test of the young season? Very possibly. Stephen F. Austin will head to Ruston, Louisiana on Wednesday to do battle with the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech.

A personal contest for head coach Kyle Keller, back in the same building where he started his career as an assistant coach under Jerry Loyd, SFA will look to claim their eighth win in nine tries while the Bulldogs try for their seventh in eight. As we prepare for the bout, we caught up with Ben Carlisle, of BleedTechBlue, the Rivals affiliate for fans of Louisiana Tech.

In our latest "Behind Enemy Lines" edition of the season, let's head out to to Ruston as the stage is set for a big mid-major clash with potential NCAA Tournament seeding implications on both ends:

Louisiana Tech has been arguably the most successful college basketball program in recent years in the state of Louisiana, and yet an NCAA Tournament berth seems to be the elusive validation of that. Is there a belief that this could be the year that snaps the drought?

Ben: There is definitely a lot of excitement surrounding the program in year three of the Eric Konkol era in Ruston. The Tech team is young with only one senior on the roster, but they are extremely talented. Lead by a trio of guards in DaQuan Bracey, Jalen Harris, and Jacobi Boykins, the Bulldogs believe they have the talent this year to get over the hump and into the NCAA Tournament.

With the incredible basketball tradition in Ruston, what is the community support like and what kind of crowd do you expect for this game?

Ben: The crowd support is always light before conference play gets going. However, with a quality opponent like SFA coming in I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3,000 folks file into the Thomas Assembly Center Wednesday night.

SFA head coach Kyle Keller was very complimentary of DaQuan Bracey this week, calling him one of the best point guards his team will play all season. How much growth has he shown from an impressive freshmen campaign to now as a sophomore?

Ben: Bracey has been outstanding. He had a couple of bad turnovers late in the Bulldogs three point loss to Alabama, but the sophomore can do it all. He has shown a better shooting stroke early on in the year and is averaging 14 points per game. It would not surprise me to see Bracey be the Conference USA Player of the Year.

How does LaTech best attack SFA's pressure defense?

Ben: Bracey will run the show and the ‘Dogs will look to get out and run. If Bracey gets into the open floor he will certainly be looking for Jacobi Boykins in transition who is a deadly three point shooter when he is own. Tech’s strength is its guard play which will make for an interesting matchup against the SFA pressure defense Wednesday night.

Where is LaTech most vulnerable early this season?

Ben: Tech's weakness, just as it has been for many years, is its lack of ability to score in the post. Joniah White is an elite shot blocker but does not have much of an offensive game. Jy’lan Washington is a stretch-4, Oliver Powell is a banger down low, and Anthony Duruji is a stretch-4 as well early on in his career. When Tech isn’t shooting the ball well and Bracey is kept out of the lane, the ‘Dogs can struggle to score.

What is your prediction for the game?

Ben: Tech is 84-4 on their home court dating back to 2012 which has created a mental edge for the ‘Dogs each time they take the floor at home. I’m going to say the Dunkin’ Dogs squeak out a close one against a very good SFA squad.

Behind Enemy Lines: SFA at Louisiana Tech Q&A with BleedTechBlue

nacluth
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These inside perspectives are great. We've struggled against some teams with big inside guys. I guess we'll see what we can do with high level guard play. Our defense will have to be on point. Running back in transition is going to be key. Hopefully we play top level because that is what it will take on the road.
Ryan
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sfa17
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84-4 at home!!
@SfaJacksNation
nacluth
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sfa17 said:

84-4 at home!!
Sounds like us. We're currently 83-4. A win on Wednesday would give us the lead over LA Tech.
Ryan
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TallTexan
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That's an interesting looking arena. Maybe the building's round nature will remind the Jacks of the Sam Houston Basketball Arena, where we've kicked a lot of tail the last few years.

84-5.
Gazette1
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How far is Ruston from Nac? I know that I-20 will take me straight to it.
INiedrauer
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I think roughly 2.5 hours. Maybe not quite. I'll find out today.
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Isaac Niedrauer
@INiedrauer


nacluth
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TallTexan said:

That's an interesting looking arena. Maybe the building's round nature will remind the Jacks of the Sam Houston Basketball Arena, where we've kicked a lot of tail the last few years.

84-5.


84-5 Texan!
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