LAFAYETTE — Don’t worry about the final score Wednesday night. It really doesn’t matter.
Everything else still does, though, even if the record books will never acknowledge that it actually happened.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are bridging their nonconference and conference schedules with a midseason exhibition game against Spring Hill College. This is like making lemonade out of those fringe-rotten lemons in the fridge you thought you used up on that icebox pie a couple of months ago. They should’ve expired by now, but they still look usable, so you might as well make the most of them.
But did the Cajuns really have to do this in the first place? Why not just go get new lemons and make some lemonade that is officially recognized as legitimate by the national governing body of such things? Or maybe don’t make lemonade in the first place?
After all, it’s patently weird, after nearly two months of playing meaningful basketball, to drop an exhibition into the middle of that competitive slate. It’s like an NFL team playing a preseason game in Week 5, except the tickets are free Wednesday night. (Take a hint, NFL.)
But just because something is weird and out of place and, like those lemons, almost definitely not the top option for those involved doesn’t mean that it will be devoid of benefit.
It has been nine days since the Cajuns played a competitive game, and it is three days until they will play another — and that one lurking in the future marks the beginning of Sun Belt play. That, as everyone knows, is where the Cajuns really need to shine.
Although the Cajuns are far from broken at 4-6, they certainly weren’t operating like a well-oiled machine when they bid Lafayette adieu for the Christmas holiday. Getting an opportunity to play against a different uniform with officials watching on the Cajundome floor will bust some of the rust that has built up in the past week or so.
They’ve got guys who would probably play if it were a regular-season game who probably won’t Wednesday since it’s an exhibition. On Monday, coach Bob Marlin said sophomore forward Bryce Washington wasn’t likely to suit up — which is smart, because the score doesn’t matter, and he’s not 100 percent healthy.
In his place, the Cajuns can give redshirt freshman Scotty Plaisance a look without batting an eye. With Shawn Long dominating, minutes have been somewhat hard to come by for the young forward, but he can get valuable minutes Wednesday and try to avoid a repeat performance of his last exhibition game (five fouls in six minutes).
Since the final score is going to mean squat at the end of the night, the Cajuns can experiment with some stuff on the floor that they have been wary to use in a meaningful game. Perhaps there are some offensive sets they’ve been meaning to try or a particular lineup or a defensive alignment that could cure the Cajuns of their struggles guarding perimeter shooters.
Oh, and did I mention admission is free? You might be like me and not be entirely interested in the happenings of a game that doesn’t matter, but maybe you know a kid who just wants to eat some (probably not free) cotton candy and watch some tall guys dunk a basketball.
See? It’s possible that everyone can win even when nobody wins.