Next for Cajuns: Avoiding the App Trap – From the Bird’s Nest
Nice win last night.
The Cajuns' 72-65 win over UL Monroe last night was important for a lot of reasons. It was the seventh straight win for Louisiana, it kept them unbeaten at home and was the first one all season at the Cajundome that went right down to the wire. One of the things about the 2015-16 season is the Cajuns really haven't had very many close games. Honestly, they needed to have one like that.
But now comes a big challenge...a bigger one than most people probably realize.
And, that's tomorrow night at Appalachian State.
You hear the term "trap game" come up a lot in football, It's the game that, on paper, you should win. But there are mitigating circumstances. Let's take a look at them.
1. AN EMOTIONAL WIN--The Cajuns left a lot on the court last night. ULM had won three straight in the series. It was ULM. And Louisiana had to fight from eleven points down with ten minutes to go. It was a draining game, both physically and emotionally.
2. WAKE UP, EVERYBODY---I don't know what time these guys got to bed last night or how easily they could wind down after a game like that. It was after midnight for me. But regardless, that alarm clock went off early this morning.
3. A LONG DAY--Travel in a group isn't easy. In this case, it's get up, load up, get on a bus, drive to Baton Rouge, check in a group of 25 or so, get everyone through security, get on the plane, wait, fly to Charlotte, wait for everyone's bags at bag claim, hope the bus is on time, load up the bus, get on the bus and make a two hour bus ride to Boone, NC. Then it's check into the hotel...and, oh, there's a thing called practice because you've got one day to prepare for a team that's had five days to prepare for you.
4. YOU'VE ALREADY WHOOPED EM---Three times in a row, in fact. The Cajuns swept Appalachian State last season and had an easy 79-58 win at the Cajundome on January 2nd. It was over early. No matter how you drill in the "one game at a time" thing and "fear no one, respect everyone," the reality is, this team you're playing isn't ULM. Or Little Rock.
5. YOU'RE ON THE ROAD--Are you tired of hearing me say there's no tougher thing to do in sports than win on the road in college basketball? The road isn't easy. And, although you're team will have confidence, having won their last two road games, the fact is, the Cajuns are 2-8 away from the 'Dome this year.
6. YOU'RE PLAYING A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS TEAM--When you have a guy like Frank Eaves, you can win on any given night. Eaves had 19 points against the Cajuns, but Louisiana was able to run Eaves off the three point line. At home, he's really capable of busting out. When he's got it going, App State can beat anyone.
When you add it all up, this has all the makings of a trap game. It's up to the Cajuns and their mental and physical toughness to avoid it.