Place: Reed Arena
Line: LSU is favored by 5.5
Advanced Metrics via KenPom: Texas A&M has a 27% chance to win
We have an opportunity, here.
An opportunity to turn this weekend’s win over K-State into juuuuust a little bit of real, actual basketball momentum. I’m hoping that win, plus an opponent that typically draws well (LSU), plus an 8:00pm tip (super important for weeknights) gets us a decent crowd tonight.
Our road performances really haven’t been the problem, so turning things around at home is currently the biggest hurdle to SEC relevance. That turnaround needs to continue tonight.
Results of Note
Y’all, LSU is on fire, and they have rightfully crashed into the Top 25.
The Tigers have won nine in a row and are currently 6-0 in the SEC, which is a half game behind #1 Tennessee. They looked less than convincing in their recent OT win at Missouri… but far be it from me to criticize one’s performance against Missouri.
Their three losses are all pretty respectable, with the possible exception of a neutral court loss to lowly Oklahoma State, who is currently struggling in the Big XII.
Things to Watch
The first thing that struck me about LSU’s team profile was their distribution of minutes. No one player gets 80% of the team’s minutes, but at least eight guys grab 40%. That provides depth and flexibility - two things we don’t exactly have.
Individually, it all starts with Tremont Waters. He leads the team in scoring, his Assist Rate (35.5%) is 3rd in the SEC, and his Steal Percentage (5.26%) leads the conference. He’s basically everything you could ask for in a point guard. Skylar Mays is an uber-efficient scorer with insane 48/87/38 shooting splits, Naz Reid is the kind of stretch 5 everyone loves to have these days, Kavell Bigby-Williams protects the rim, and Ja’vonte Smart, Emmitt Williams and Darius Days fill the stat sheet in just about every way you can.
Everyone has a role, and it all fits together oddly efficiently. This is a well-constructed team.
This is going to be a tough one.
The Tigers have shown no weakness on the road, even though they have four freshman getting significant minutes. If we’re going to pull this one off, we need Wendell Mitchell to continue his play from the last week, and he probably needs a little help.