LSU will host "Louisiana" in the National Invitation Tournament Wednesday at 6 p.m.
BATON ROUGE — Let the name games begin.
Louisiana State, commonly known as simply LSU throughout the nation but not everywhere, will host Louisiana-Lafayette, which is getting to be known more and more commonly as simply "Louisiana" by national networks, statistical listings and rankings and conferences, in the National Invitation Tournament — commonly known as the NIT — at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Or actually, the name games already have begun.
MORE: Glenn Guilbeau Column on this whole Cajun name game from 2014
STILL MORE: And some responses to that column
Seconds after ESPN listed "LSU vs. Louisiana" in its bracket on the NIT Selection Show on Sunday night, LSU's official Twitter page tweeted that LSU was playing Louisiana-Lafayette.
On Monday morning during a teleconference of coaches from the Southeastern Conference, of which LSU is a member, the moderator in introducing LSU coach Will Wade said the Tigers "will host Louisiana on Wednesday."
Apparently, SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent, a former LSU sports information director and associate athletic director who like many at LSU was aggravated by UL's name pursuits for years, let that one slip by.
Then Wade, a first-year LSU coach who is from Nashville, Tennessee, and like most not from here not aware of the decades long feud about UL's name, said this: "Looking forward to playing a very good Louisiana team."
It is doubtful he meant a team from Louisiana, the state.
The Tigers (17-14) got the No. 3 seed and host site in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center from the NIT selection committee even though the No. 6 seed Cajuns (27-6) have a better record by 10 games in the win column and by eight in the loss column as well as a better Ratings Percentage Index rating as of Sunday by 31 at No. 63 to LSU's No. 94, according to the NCAA's RPI. The NCAA's RPI, by the way, lists UL as "Louisiana" and Louisiana State as "LSU."
LSU, which was once erroneously viewed as a NCAA Tournament bubble team, dropped to 94 in RPI after a disappointing 80-77 loss on Thursday to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament. State also did not make the NCAA Tournament and just lost to LSU by 21 a week ago Saturday in Baton Rouge. The Cajuns appeared headed to the NCAA Tournament, but lost a key home game on March 3 by 72-61 in overtime to Arkansas-Little Rock (The name Arkansas was already taken.) Then the Cajuns lost, 71-68, in the Sun Belt Tournament in New Orleans on Saturday to UT-Arlington (The name Texas was already taken.)
"We are very excited to have been chosen to play in the 2018 NIT,” Wade said Sunday night. “We look forward to giving our fans another opportunity to watch us play in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, and we hope they will support our players and what they have achieved this season."
The LSU-UL winner plays the winner of No. 2 seed Utah (19-11) and No. 7 seed UC-Davis (22-10), which seems to have its own name issues. UC-Davis is the University of California, Davis. And get this, the town of Davis near Sacramento used to be known as Davisville. A pairing of UL and UC-Davis would be an alias Super Bowl of sorts as UL is also known as ULL and used to be known as USL and SLI, while UC-Davis is also known as UCD and simply, Davis, which would surely have identity issues outside of Davis.
But back to the game, Louisiana State released the following ticket and parking information:
Tickets were expected to go on sale by 9 p.m. Sunday at www.LSUtix.net, over the phone at 225-578-2184, and at 8 a.m. Monday in person at the LSU Athletics ticket office. Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. The majority of seats in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center will be general admission with sections 111-116 reserved as allocated to the participating team and tournament requirements, but a limited number of those seats may be made available to the public at $12 each.
General admission tickets will sell at $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 3-12 and $6 each for groups of 10 or more. Ages three and under will be admitted for free without a ticket. Full-time LSU Baton Rouge students who are in good standing and have a 2.0 or better overall grade point average will be admitted for free as normal for LSU basketball games. They will follow normal student ticket procedures for entrance, swiping their LSU ID at the PMAC student entrances (lower Southeast and upper East portals).
Parking will be sold for $10 in Lot 101 (limit 1 per customer/account). Handicap parking will be the same as normal in Lot 105 and the special assistant shuttle will pick up near the front of the lot. The shuttle will start two hours before the game and one hour after.
LSU will be in the postseason for the first time since reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2015. It turned down consideration by the NIT in 2016. The Tigers have played two in-state opponents in their NIT history both in the Assembly Center and lost both - 83-72 to Tulane in 1982 and 99-94 to the University of New Orleans (formerly LSUNO) in 1983. The Tigers are 4-8 all-time in the NIT, last reaching it in 2014 and winning at San Francisco, 71-63, before losing at SMU, 80-67.
UL is 6-6 all-time in the NIT Tournament and reached the Final Four in New York City in 1984. The Cajuns last went in 2003.
"The selection of LSU to this year’s NIT says a lot about the progression of our program," Wade said in a prepared release by LSU. "It is a step in a direction that will only continue to move this program forward. It is exciting to be a part of post season play in our first season. We look forward to the challenges ahead as we face Louisiana-Lafayette in the opening round.”
The Tigers have never played the Cajuns in a postseason game. LSU leads the all-time series, 36-10. The two last met on Dec. 1, 2009, with the Tigers winning their seventh straight game in the series, 66-58. The Cajuns last won on Feb. 21, 1944, by 60-37, which was the Cajuns' third straight win in the series.
LSU and the Cajuns last played in Lafayette on Jan. 24, 1945 with LSU winning, 59-44.