Marlin’s Ragin’ Cajuns Prepping For UC-Irvine [VIDEO]
After rolling past Texas A&M-CC and Furman, the Ragin' Cajuns are faced with a massive UC-Irvine team in the quarterfinals of the CIT.
Bob Marlin's Cajuns coasted past Texas A&M Corpus Christi with their third highest point total of the season, then they jumped on a Furman squad early to hand them their first loss at home in twelve games.
Kasey Shepherd is playing some of the best basketball of his career, with 28 points (career high) against the Islanders and a team-high 18 against the Paladins. He joined the 1,000 career point club as a Cajun and moved into 9th place all-time in steals on Saturday, and Jay Wright and Devonta Walker picked up the slack with Shawn Long dealing with foul trouble. The guard play from Shepherd and Jay Wright has been essential, but this Wednesday it's going to be all about the bigs.
Long might be the best big man in the Sun Belt, but he will be dwarfed by UC-Irvine's starting center, Mamadou Ndiaye. He's the biggest player in the country, and Marlin described his presence perfectly.
"He's a very large person, and he has a very bright future," Marlin said dryly.
It's not just Ndiaye that scrapes the ceiling. They have another player who checks in at 7'2" and two more at 6'10". Long is going to have to deal with a complete mountain range in the post, if the Cajuns want to beat top seeded UC-Irvine.
Marlin also mentioned that a few players are under the weather, and Bryce Washington tweaked his knee against Furman. He expects all players to be ready to go on Wednesday, so the folks at the Cajundome should be set for a full-on fanfest.
Even though Ndiaye will present a towering adversary in the post, the Cajuns will still certainly hold some other advantages. A 7'6, 300 lb body can't move laterally like Long's can, so you might see Shawn get some work on the perimeter. If you can take the tree away from the paint, it's easier for the sun to shine through and get some points.
NBA scouts will certainly have their eyes on the men in the paint on Wednesday, so you would be keen to get your butt in one of the seats as well.
At this point in the season, every game could be the Cajuns' last. You don't want to miss Shawn Long, Kasey Shepherd or any of the seniors' last games...and when have you ever seen somebody built like Ndiaye? Be honest with yourself, you know you want to check him out.