The Houston Cougars are a much better team than the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, but just three days after a draining 83-82 loss to Alabama, they might be physically and mentally unprepared to play their very best brand of basketball.
This will be interesting to watch – especially in the sportsbook where Houston is laying a huge number.
- Game: Louisiana (5-4) at Houston (8-2)
- Location: Fertitta Center – Houston
- Day/Time: Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN Plus
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns vs Houston Cougars
Louisiana: Nothing to Lose
The Ragin’ Cajuns have struggled this season, losing games to Marshall and Jackson State to drag down the quality of their resume.
They most recently lost to Louisiana Tech 78-69 in yet another game in which the Cajuns allowed 75 points or more. If you look at their body of work, most of their losses have been games in which they allowed over 75 points.
This is what Louisiana has to address as this season goes along.
There isn’t yet a win on the schedule that would dramatically boost the national reputation of this Sun Belt Conference team, but ULL has to find a way to evolve as a group and earn fresh respect.
This is a final big chance for Louisiana to post a non-conference win that will be remembered and respected in early March, when various resumes are evaluated for March Madness betting.
Houston, We Have One Problem …
The Houston Cougars made the Final Four last season. This past Saturday against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Houston played a Final Four-quality game, a heavyweight battle on the road that went back and forth and was in doubt until the final buzzer.
Marcus Sasser played a brilliant game for Houston, which outrebounded Alabama and stayed even with the Crimson Tide due to second-chance points and points off turnovers.
The Cougars rely on effort to win games. They’re a skilled team, but depend on making elbow-grease hustle plays to separate from their opponents.
Those hustle plays put Houston in position to beat Alabama. On the final possession, Houston got to the offensive glass one last time. For a brief while, it appeared that a tip-in attempt was goaltended by Alabama. However, the officials did not rule goaltending and did not review the call. Alabama won, 83-82.
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson and his players stormed off the court in anger, believing they had been wronged. The Cougars will try to overcome that gut punch on Tuesday night. They’re the choice for sports bets.
How Much Faith Should Houston Get?
There is an obvious letdown angle to this game. Will the Cougars sulk through this game, thinking about the Alabama loss and the controversial ending, or will Houston come out clear and laser-focused?
If Houston is sharp, it will cover, but one has to wonder if the team will be at its best. Expect fewer points and for the Cougars to win by 20 … which won’t be quite enough to cover for college basketball picks.
Parlay: Louisiana +23½ and Under 139½
Pick: Under 139½
Pick: Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns +23