The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns men’s basketball team has been named the favorites to win the Sun Belt Conference in 2022-2023, as the league’s 14 head coaches voted upon. The league also announced preseason awards and All-Conference teams, which included Jordan Brown being named the Preseason Player of the Year.
Louisiana, who made it to the conference championship game last season for just the second time since 2011, received 10 of the 14 first-place votes with 190 total votes. Texas State, South Alabama, James Madison, and Georgia State rounded out the top five, with each program receiving one first-place vote.
The Cajuns finished 2021 with a 16-15 record, which resulted in them being the highest seed (eighth) to make it to the championship game in the history of the tournament. Lousiana averaged 71.1 points per game in conference play, which led the league. Also, two All-Conference selections return in Kobe Julien and Jordan Brown.
Brown, a 6’11” forward, transferred from Arizona and made an immediate impact in Cajun Country. He started 24 of 27 games and led the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. That nod was good enough for sixth in the league while being third in rebounds with 8.6 per game.
Brown had multiple 15+ points and 15+ rebound performances last season, being one of 36 players nationally to do it. He had double-doubles on six occasions and had seven 20+ point games. Brown was named to the Sun Belt All-Tournament team while being an NABC District 23 First-Team selection and a member of the Lou Henson Award Watch List.
Julien, who was named third-team All-Sun-Belt last season, made 25 appearances as a starter, scoring 12.7 points per game to finish second on the team and 14th in the conference in scoring. He made 1.7 3-pointers per game and score 20+ points five times.
Julien had a big game against ULM in 2021, scoring 26 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and three assists. He also knocked down a pair of clutch free throws with two seconds left in the contest.
Joining Jordan Brown on the All-Sun Belt First Team included Mason Harrell (Texas State), Taevion Kinsey (Marshall), Vado Morse (James Madison), and Kevin Samuel (South Alabama).
Julien was placed on the second team with App State’s Donovan Gregory, Southern Miss’ Felipe Haase, Coastal Carolina’s Essam Mostafa, and South Alabama’s Greg Parham II.
Conference play for the Sun Belt begins on December 29, with 18 conference games on the schedule. The season will reach its pinnacle at the 2023 Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship in Pensacola at the Bay Center from February 28 to March 6.