The New Orleans Privateers & SE Louisiana Lions will square off at the Leonard E. Merrell Center this Friday night in the Semifinals of the Southland Tournament.
The 3-seed New Orleans Privateers improved to 18-12 on the season after defeating the 7-seed McNeese Cowboys, 82-78, last night. New Orleans was outstanding from the field and was able to pull away later after taking a 77-70 lead with 2:26 left in regulation. New Orleans shot 50.9% from the field & 10.0% from beyond the arc while allowing McNeese to shoot 44.6% from the field & 22.7% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Privateers was Troy Green who had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, & 4 steals.
Coming into their game against McNeese, New Orleans was averaging 77.6 ppg on 47.2% shooting from the field. The Cowboys were averaging 4.2 three-pointers per game on 31.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, New Orleans has been led by Derek St. Hilaire (20.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.8 spg), Troy Green (16.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.9 spg), Tyson Jackson (8.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 apg), & Daniel Sackey (6.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.8 apg).
Defensively, prior to their game against McNeese, New Orleans was allowing their opponents to average 73.8 ppg on 42.3% shooting from the field. The Cowboys had a rebound margin of -0.5 and a turnover margin of 0.7.
The SE Louisiana Lions finished their regular season with an overall record of 18-13 and earned the 2-seed in the Southland Tournament after finishing conference play with a 10-4 record. SE Louisiana finished their non-conference portion of their schedule with an 8-9 record with their best win coming in a 72-68 victory against Troy. SE Louisiana had a somewhat slow start in conference play, going 4-3 over their first 7 games, however, the Lions were outstanding down the stretch, winning 8 of their last 10 games while included an 83-81 victory at home over the top-seeded Nichols Colonels.
On the season, SE Louisiana is averaging 79.7 ppg on 46.3% shooting from the field. The Lions are averaging 9.0 three-pointers per game on 35.9% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, SE Louisiana has been led by Gus Okafor (15.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.4 spg), Jalyn Hinton (14.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 2.2 bpg), Keon Clergeot (13.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.1 spg), & Ryan Burkhardt (9.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.0 apg).
Defensively, SE Louisiana is allowing their opponents to average 78.5 ppg on 46.8% shooting from the field. The Lions have a rebound margin of -3.7 and a turnover margin of 0.9.
The Privateers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 Friday games & 8-2-1 ATS in thier last 11 games following a straight up win. The Lions are 5-1 ATS in thier last 6 games vs. a team with a winning striaght up record & 7-3 ATS in thier last 10 neutral stie games.
New Orleans & SE Louisiana split their regular season series as the Privateers defeated the Lions by a 78-72 margin at home in late January while SE Louisiana defeated New Orleans by an 84-79 margin at home in late February.
New Orleans has been led by their offense which ranks 36th in both scoring offense & FG%, however, the Privateers have struggled defensively and come into this game ranked just 291st in scoring defense & 221st in rebound margin. SE Louisiana has also been led by their offense which ranks 16th in scoring offense, 54th in FG%, & 69th in 3P-FG%, however, have also struggled defensively as the Lions come into this matchup ranked just 339th in scoring defense & 330th in scoring defense. New Orlenas might be the lower seed in this matchup, however, as I think the Privateers are the better overall team as their defense is a bit stronger than SE Louisiana, I'm taking New Orlenas to win this pick-em. Good Luck!