The Little Rock Trojans enter a three game home stretch tonight that may shape the rest of the conference season. This is not only the easiest home period for the Trojans, but it may be the most important if they hope to continue their conference winning streak.
Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, and Appalachian State have a combined record of 13-24. Most importantly for the Trojans is that each of the teams have struggled with first half starts much in the same way that Little Rock has throughout the season.
The Trojans have struggled in the opening minutes of almost every game this season and never seem to find their groove until somewhere in the middle of the half. This is something that coach Chris Beard expressed frustrations with following last week’s win against Troy.
“I’m tired of getting off to these slow starts and talking about how proud I am of our guys fighting back, but same old story tonight,” Beard said after the win. “As a coaching staff we have to figure out how to get off to a better start. But give our players a lot of credit.”
Little Rock has to find a way to increase opportunities to start the game, which would give them a large margin with the late half runs that the team. Something that will be critical for the Trojans to work on at home before they go on their toughest three game road trip that includes visits to Arkansas State and UT-Arlington.
The most difficult of the home stretch is tonight against an underrated Louisiana team. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-1 in conference play, but narrowly lost to a (at the time) #22 UCLA team on the road. They received nine of 11 first-place votes as the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference, but faced an early season conference loss to Louisiana Monroe.
Little Rock enters the game ranked #3 in the Mid-Major Poll and has entered ESPN’s Bracketology projections as a #12 seed in the NCAA tournament.