LAFAYETTE, LA (103.3 The Goat) – The defending Sun Belt Champions, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, were picked to finish 5th in the pre-season poll released on Monday.  The poll was voted on the by the league’s 14 head coaches.

The Ragin’ Cajuns will have to replace last year’s Conference Tournament MVP Jordan Brown.  Brown averaged 19.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, but transferred to the Memphis Tigers following the seasoon.

Louisiana v Tennessee
Getty Images

One of the key returning Cajuns is point guard Themus Fulks.  Fulks went into the transfer portal after the season, but decided to return to play for Louisiana.  Fulks, was named to the Pre-Season All Sun Belt First Team, the only Cajuns player to receive such an accolade.

Photo Credit: Twitter/RaginCajunsMBB
Photo Credit: Twitter/RaginCajunsMBB

James Madison was selected as the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference Southern Miss’ Austin Crowley was chosen as the 2023-24 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year. The Sun Belt also announced its Preseason All-Conference Teams on Monday.

The Dukes, coming off a 22-11 season, garnered seven first place votes. App State was picked second, while Old Dominion, Southern Miss, and Louisiana rounded out the top-five of the poll.

James Madison v North Carolina
JMU's Mark Byington - Getty Images

James Madison returns seven letterwinners and welcomes six newcomers for the 2023-24 campaign, as they look to build on this past season, which saw them rack up 22 wins, the most for the program since the historic 1981-82 campaign. Of the Dukes’ returners is Terrence Edwards, Jr., the 2023 Sun Belt Sixth Man of the Year and All-Sun Belt Second Team selection. Last season, the guard led James Madison in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and three-point percentage (45.8%), while registering the third-highest rebounding average (5.1 rpg).

attachment-Screenshot 2023-10-17 at 1.42.13 PM

Crowley was selected as the Sun Belt’s 2023-24 Preseason Player of the Year. Crowley, the 2022-23 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year, put together a breakout campaign for Southern Miss in his first season in the Black and Gold, earning Lou Henson All-America, NABC All-District 23 and First Team All-Sun Belt honors. The West Point, Miss., native, led all Golden Eagles in scoring at 16.0 points per game and finished with 63 steals.

 The Sun Belt also announced its Preseason All-Sun Belt First, Second, and Third teams (listed below) on Monday.

 Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team selections include Crowley, Edwards, Jr., App State’s Donovan Gregory, Old Dominion’s Chaunce Jenkins, Troy’s Christyon Eugene and Louisiana’s Fulks.

Each Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball program will play an 18-game league slate. All 14 Sun Belt teams open their conference schedules on Saturday, December 30.

The season will conclude with the 2024 Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship at the Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, Fla., from March 5-11, 2024. All games will air on ESPN+ with the title contest broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll

1. James Madison (7) - 176

2. App State (2) – 159

3. Old Dominion (1) - 154

4. Southern Miss - 148

5. Louisiana (2) - 136

6. South Alabama (2) - 129

7. Marshall - 119

8. Troy - 91

9. Arkansas State - 84

10. Texas State - 72

11. Georgia State - 69

12. Coastal Carolina - 59

13. Georgia Southern - 42

14. ULM – 32

 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Preseason Awards

 Preseason Player of the Year

Austin Crowley, Southern Miss [SR | G | West Point, Miss.]

Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team

Austin Crowley, Southern Miss [SR | G | West Point, Miss.]

Terrence Edwards, Jr., James Madison [R-JR | G | Atlanta, Ga.]

Donovan Gregory, App State [GR | F | Charlotte, N.C.]

Chaunce Jenkins, Old Dominion [JR | G | Newport News, Va.]

Christyon Eugene, Troy [SR | G | Spring, Texas]

Themus Fulks, Louisiana [R-JR | G | Winston Salem, N.C.]

Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team

Tyrell Jones, South Alabama [SR | G | Chicago, Ill.]

Kamdyn Curfman, Marshall [SR | G | North Bethesda, Md.]

Tyreke Locure, ULM [SR | G | New Orleans, La.]

Dwon Odom, Georgia State [JR | G | Alpharetta, Ga.]

Obinna Anochili-Killen, Marshall [SR | F | Lagos, Nigeria]

Preseason All-Sun Belt Third Team

Terrance Ford, Jr., Arkansas State [SO | G | Chicago, Ill.]

Brenden Tucker, Georgia State [SR | G | Lawrenceville, Ga]

CJ Huntley, App State [SR | F | Huntersville, N.C.]

Freddy Hicks, Arkansas State [JR | G | Searcy, Ark.]

Aamer Muhammad, Troy [SR | G | Rio Rancho, New Mexico]

2023 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Football Season In Review

Recapping the 2023 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Football season

Gallery Credit: David Schultz

More From 103.3 The GOAT