We sat down with Dusty Thibodeaux who writes for The Warhawk Report with Rivals.com to give us some insight on Eastern Michigan's first round opponent for the CBI tonight the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
University of Louisiana Monroe’s 10th post-season appearance comes on the heels of their first 20-win season since the 2001-02 season and first time to play beyond the regular season since the 1995-96 season. The Warhawks fell in the Sun Belt Conference semi-finals 44-43 to Georgia Southern. The loss eliminated ULM from NCAA Tournament contention with the league’s automatic bid; instead the Warhawks are set for a first round College Basketball Invitational showdown against Eastern Michigan.
Leading the Warhawks to their 21-12 (14-6 conference) record this season is first team all-conference selection Tylor Ongwae. The Kenya native recorded four double-doubles throughout the season and a season-high 25 points twice. Also leading the charge was third team all-conference player Majok Deng. His five double-doubles were a team high and recorded a 14 point 15 rebound game at home against University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Despite being the team’s tallest player at 6’10, his outside shooting ability allows him to be a scoring threat regardless where he is on the floor.
The guard play of sophomore Nick Coppola and junior Justin Roberson allows the Warhawk shooters of Ongwae and Deng to easily get open. Coppola is a true iron man playing an average of 36.2 minutes a game and held a streak of eight straight games without exiting the game. Roberson is aggressive on the board, attacks the glass while also playing lockdown defense and his 36 steals leads the team.
Perhaps the biggest presence on the court is the inside play of DeMondre Harvey. The power forward has started just five times, but is a consistent sixth-man off the bench. His 14-15 minutes per contest are big with him recording three double-double performances throughout the course of the season.
Overseeing the team is fifth year head coach Keith Richard. The ULM alumnus inherited a program decimated by NCAA APR sanctions that greatly reduced the number of allotted scholarships, practice time and games. Fighting through the sanctions, Richard had won just 24 games in the prior four seasons before leading the Warhawks to a tie for second place and a 21 win season in 2014-15.