The Mocs will face UL-Monroe if both Chattanooga and the Warhawks have the same result in their first game in the Battle 4 Atlantis in McKenzie Arena. This would be the fifth game against D1 teams out of conference for the Mocs if they wind up matching up. This game would be played on Thanksgiving Day, at noon if they both lost on Wednesday and at 2:30 if they both won.
The Warhawks are coming off a 10-17 season, which saw them win seven Sun Belt games. Those seven conference wins matched their total from the previous three years combined. However, this appears to be the best ULM team in quite a while. They are returning four starters. The biggest returning player is Tylor Ongwae. The Sun Belt is returning just four of the fifteen All-SBC selections, and Ongwae is one of those four. He averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
Nick Coppola may be one of the keys to the season for ULM. He averaged 6.9 points per game and over three assists per contest. Marvin Williams is a 6-8 senior center, and he averaged over 8 points per contest a year ago. Justin Roberson is a junior college transfer. At 6-1, he can score, rebound, pass the ball, and play great defense. He has tremendous athletic ability as well.
This ULM team is going to be halfway decent. This is the sort of team the Mocs should beat at home though. If the two teams match-up, the Mocs will be expected to win. That being said, the Warhawks have lots of experience, and the Mocs don't have a ton of it. Early in the year, on a quiet midday Thanksgiving game, the Mocs may not show up ready to play. There may be a lack of energy. The Mocs are going to have show up with energy to beat this team.
The Warhawks are unlikely to win the Sun Belt, but they could finish in the upper division of the conference. This game would be an OK win for the Mocs. It will be interesting to see who wins the Coastal Carolina and ULM game on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30. ULM will be the underdog in that contest. In fact, the Warhawks are likely the underdog against any of the three teams in this field. This tournament will be a chance for them to prove that they are better than expected.