Cajuns will need extra effort

LOUISIANA La. McDonald's may be doing away with its "supersized" menu, but Louisiana coach Jessie Evans still has use for the concept.

"Our season just became supersized," said Evans, whose Ragin' Cajuns will play North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Orlando.

"Now we'll have to supersize our effort, and I'm confident that our effort will be where it needs to be."

It will take that kind of performance to knock off the No. 3-seeded, 20-9 Wolfpack, the regular-season runners-up in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Led by fluid wing player Julius Hodge (18.6-point average, 110 assists), N.C. State specializes in balance and shooting.

"They're one of the premier teams in the tournament," Evans said. "They have all their bases covered they're athletic, big, physical, they can shoot from the perimeter and can bang inside.

"Hodge is a multi-purpose wing player. If you combine Brad Boyd's shooting, Laurie Bridges' athleticism and the size and tenacity of Brian Hamilton, that's Hodge.

"But they're from the ACC and you get those kind of complete players in the ACC."

But like the Cajuns, the Wolfpack relies on more than one standout.

"Marcus Melvin has size and bulk (6-foot-8, 230), and he really concerns me," Evans said. "He's a power forward who's listed as a center. He also shoots 3's (a team-high 53-of-149) and is a tremendous matchup problem for us.

"Also, Ilian Evtimov (6-foot-7, 231) can really stroke it. Think (former Cajun) Brett Smith searching for 3 points. Evtimov was injured last year but is back now."

The Wolfpack leads the nation in free throw shooting at 79.8 percent, so there is a price to pay for fouling on Friday.

"We're going to foul," Evans said. "What we have to do, and I've talked to Orien (Greene) and Chris Cameron about this, is don't commit silly fouls.

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Bruce Brown