Under the Radar Game of the Day: Chattanooga at Louisiana-Monroe, 8:00 PM Eastern
The UTR Game of the Day heads down to Monroe, Louisiana tonight for a battle between the team that has looked the best so far out of the Southern Conference, and one of the preseason favorites from the Sun Belt Conference. The Chattanooga Mocs began the season (as was predicted here at HOOPS HD) by picking up a win at Georgia. After knocking off non-D1 Hiwassee, they then proceeded on to pick up a win at Illinois as well. Although Iowa State proved to be too tall of an order for the Mocs, they spent this past weekend in Niceville, Florida winning the Visitor’s Bracket of the Emerald Coast Classic by rolling over Alabama State and Jacksonville State. The Mocs now sit at 5-1 on the season heading into their second toughest remaining non-conference game (a trip to Dayton on December 12 is already circled on the calendar). They are led by Casey Jones, though a balanced scoring attack has been on of the keys to their success so far (four players were in double digits in their last game and the team’s leading scorer has been different in almost every game so far).
The Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe were one of our preseason picks to contend for the Sun Belt championship, especially coming off of a run to the finals of the CBI last season. This season has not started off too well, however, as they enter the game at 2-2, with their only D1 win coming against a Northwestern State that has already lost to non-D1 competition this year. The good news for the Warhawks is that neither of their losses is particularly awful (at Minnesota and at Houston) and there is definitely time for them to get things rolling before conference play starts in earnest (though their first conference game is this weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette, the rest of the conference schedule does not start until New Year’s Eve). Picking up a win tonight against a solid opponent will definitely get ULM back into the Sun Belt talks, despite the early season successes of Texas-Arlington and Arkansas-Little Rock. The Warhawks will need a strong effort to win this one, especially from Maaok Deng, their senior forward with the ability to net a double-double anytime he steps on the court.