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Louisiana Tech in soul-searching mode after loss of star player

Bulldogs third year head coach Eric Konkol is looking to steady the ship after a recent run of misfortune.

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana Tech at UAB Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but not the goal.

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs got off to a red hot start this season by winning their first five games, but have since sputtered against tougher in conference opponents. After the slide, their record now stands at a mediocre 10-9 early in the new year.

The team has lost five of their past six games on the heels of receiving more bad news when sophomore guard Jalen Harris asked for his release back on Dec 22. Harris made the C-USA All-Freshman team last year and was leading the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. Without their main offensive catalyst, the Bulldogs will have to dig even deeper to break out of their current funk.

However, the Bulldogs third year head coach Eric Konkol remains patient and confident in his approach to the long term success of his program.

Konkol led his team to back-to-back 23-win campaigns in his first two years in charge. But with only one senior on the current roster, the Bulldogs have understandably taken a different approach to the 2017-18 season where great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.

He explained, “You’ve got to be good, have a little luck on your side and you’ve got have the ball bounce your way, but if we can get better every day then the score will take care of itself.”

Konkol earned the head coaching position after 15 years of being an assistant with stops at George Mason, Miami, Tennessee and Tulsa. He also played under legendary coach Bo Ryan at Wisconsin-Platteville back in the mid-90’s.

Despite their recent misfortune, the Bulldogs have a winnable stretch of games over the next month against the bottom half of C-USA. Perform well, and the Bulldogs could see themselves back in the hunt for a strong position in the conference tournament come March.

The Bulldogs have played seven of their past nine games on the road, while seven of their next nine games will be at home in the friendly confines of the Thomas Assembly Centre. Why does that matter? Well, the Bulldogs went 80-4 at home over the past five years heading into this season.

On the floor, Louisiana Tech is led by C-USA Freshman of the Year DaQuan Bracey, who is leading the team with 15.3 points along with 4.9 assists per game. The ambidextrous guard is just one of four players in school history to be named freshman of the year and was fifth best in the nation in assists-to-turnover ratio of any freshman in the country.

Konkol pointed to 6’6” senior guard Jacobi Boykins as another key player that can help steady the ship for his Bulldogs. Boykin was a pre-season All-Conference selection, and he hasn’t disappointed by leading the team with 5.1 rebounds per game to go along with his 14.8 PPG.

Middle Tennessee has been the class of C-USA over the past few seasons, while it seems the Bulldogs have been one year away from being one year away for the past three seasons.

With the loss of a star player and a run of bad form, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are in somewhat of an identity crisis at this point in the season. The next few weeks of their schedule is an opportunity to turn it all around and prove that no one player is bigger than the program.

Konkol remains steadfast to his approach. He said, “We’ve got big goals here but our focus is simply what is in front of us.”