It's almost time.

After practicing for over a month, after a controlled, closed scrimmage and after an exhibition throttling of Millsaps College, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns are ready to open the 2017-18 season.

The opponent:  The Ole Miss Rebels.  Tip time is scheduled for 7:00 pm and will be televised on SEC+ alternate from The Pavilion at Ole Miss.

Louisiana returns four starters from a squad that went 21-12 a year ago, including an 8-7 record in road games.  The Cajuns will be without second team All-Sun Belt performer Jay Wright, who is now playing professionally, but there are plenty of pieces to the Cajuns' puzzle.

Pre-season All-Conference performers Bryce Washington (13.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg) and Frank Bartley IV (15.3, 4.3) lead the way, while fellow senior Johnathon Stove (9.1, 4.1) and sophomore Justin Miller (11.1, 5.2) are the other returning starters.

In addition, the Cajuns have added three transfers:  Point guard Marcus Stroman (South Carolina), forward Ja'Keenan Gant (Missouri) and guard/forward Malik Marquetti (USC).  Freshman Cedric Russell, who coach Bob Marlin calls "probably our best shooter) is a highly touted newcomer out of Peabody HS in Alexandria.

All eight are expected to see action Friday against an Ole Miss club that, after going 10-8 in the Southeastern Conference, made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT before falling to Georgia Tech.

Sophomore guard P. J. Hardy and senior center Larenz Stalcup are also expected to see action.

The game is part of a basketball/football weekend in Oxford, with the Ragin' Cajuns football team set for an 11:00 am kickoff time at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday morning.

Friday night's game can be heard on HOT 107.9 (KFXZ-FM) with pregame at 6:30, while Saturday's football game will be heard on the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns radio network with pre-game beginning at 9:00 am on flagship ESPN1420.

(Tomorrow:  A preview of the Rebels)