Louisiana-Monroe was picked for fifth in the Western Division in the preseason despite picking up one first-place vote. The Warhawks are one of three teams in the division returning all five starters from last season.
Still, despite the experience on the squad, Louisiana-Monroe has struggled defensively. The Warhawks ranked 292th in the nation in scoring defense at 75.8 points per game and 264th in field goal percentage defense at 45.6 percent.
• Tony Hopper is second in school history in three-point baskets with 197. He's also up to 12th in school history with 1,378 points. Hopper also is eighth all-time in assists with 287 and fifth in steals at 175.
Key Early Season Conference Game:
Louisiana-Monroe lost its conference opener at North Texas, 79-62. Picked to finish near or at the bottom of the Sun Belt, the Warhawks must regroup quickly to avoid the fate.
Last Year's Conference Record: 6-12, tied for fifth in the Western Division.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
What We Learned In November: Louisiana-Monroe's shooting problems could be season-long issue. The Warhawks shot 38.2 percent (21-for-55) from the field against Louisiana Tech and then shot 35.4 percent (17-of-48) the next time out against Alabama. Louisiana-Monroe has shot 36.9 percent (38-for-103) from the field during December. As a result, the assists and assist-turnover ratio are next to last in the country. Valuing the basketball is an issue as well, as the Warhawks are 328th of 334 team in turnovers per game and 312th in turnover margin.
December At A Glance: The Warhawks' next league game is at Denver on Dec. 19. and Louisiana-Monroe's first league home date is Dec. 31 against Troy.
• G Tony Hopper is making the most out of a fifth year of eligibility that was granted by the NCAA through a medical hardship. Hopper played in only five games last season before a broken foot shut him down for the year.
• Of the seven new Warhawk faces this season, five are junior college transfers