It’s fun to play LSU in basketball.
The Aggies defeated LSU 85-73, and y’all... it honestly wasn’t that close. It was our third straight win over the Tigers, and it pushed the cumulative margin of victory for all three games to 75 points.
Right now, we own LSU hoops. I don’t know what we’re going to do with it, or if we even want to own it... but we own it.
Let’s sift through the carnage.
LSU tried to copy the Vandy strategy
Last week we told you Vanderbilt had put our kryptonite on tape, and the LSU coaching staff clearly agreed. They tried to roll out the exact same defensive game plan, and it actually worked for a bit. The Tigers rode their swarming defense to an early 11-4 lead, but then a funny thing happened... we made adjustments.
Y’all, we made adjustments.
Davis and Williams started passing out of their double teams much more effectively, shooters moved well without the ball and found space, and our big men even passed the ball to each other a couple of times. Our slick ball movement over the latter portion of the first half forced LSU to roll their doubles back a bit, which led to Davis and Williams operating without pressure on the block. That’s where we want to be, and the lead only grew from that point.
We found JC Hampton’s role
It took us two-thirds of the season, but we finally realized Hampton is a spot-up shooter. It probably shouldn’t have taken this long, as the dude scored over 1,200 career points as a shooting guard at Lipscomb, but I suppose “better late than never” is the applicable phrase here.
Hampton is 12/22 from beyond the arc in his last five games (good for 54.5%), and his season-long 43.1% clip is good for fourth in the SEC.
Bombs away, JC.
Gilder is the key to everything
That’s not an exaggeration - he’s the most important piece of this rotation moving forward. He dropped 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while playing the entire game yet again, pushing his minutes played over the last six to an astounding 239 of a possible 240 minutes. The message from the coaching staff is pretty clear: We’d like to have you off the ball... but we simply can’t afford to. Hampton and Collins failed their extended tryouts at the point, so now we’re going to run Hampton as a shooter and shift Collins to a backup role.
Gilder... stay healthy, buddy. We don’t have anyone else who can handle the ball on offense, so we’re going to ride you until you drop.
There’s reason for cautious optimism, gang. With Hampton settling into his new role, we have an eight-man rotation that should be pretty consistent moving forward. Again, it all depends on Gilder surviving his extremely heavy usage rate, but if he can stay healthy and consistent this team will be very competitive moving forward.
Next up is a Mizzou squad that just nabbed their first conference win of the season. Unlike LSU, they’ve been playing hard lately, but we will still be very heavy favorites.