The early part of the season is over and we are now moving into a stretch of 5 winnable games that the Tigers MUST take advantage of. However, before moving on, let's look at what LSU has done well and what they need to concentrate their efforts on fixing.
Turnovers LSU averages a turnover on 22% of their possessions. Good enough for 315th in the NCAA. With their fast paced game, this number will be higher. Greater risk, greater reward; however, the Tigers have had far too many unforced errors to consider themselves successfully taking care of the ball.
The craziest part is, the guards are doing great. Johnny O'Bryant (4.6), Jordan Mickey (2.7) and Jarell Martin (1.8) have the most turnovers per game. Stringer (1.6), and Hickey (1.3) have done a very good job of protecting the ball. The problem here is fixable. O'Bryant needs to continue to improve passing out of double teams and Mickey needs to sharpen up his footwork in the post. Otherwise, LSU's roster looks like it can protect the ball.
LSU is 4th to last out of Major Conference Teams in getting to the free throw line. Their FT rate (FTA/FGA) is at a miserable 30.2. What does that mean? LSU is not driving to the rim. WHAT?!?! With LSU's roster, we should be getting that rate over 40%. Late in the Butler game, Jarell Martin started driving inside which is a good start.
Players can't shy away from contact. Drive through opponents and get the fouls called. It's interesting however that LSU is still shooting two pointers at a high rate. They score over 60% of their points from 2 point shots, which is 21st in the NCAA. The fact that LSU is shooting inside the arc and not getting fouled is troublesome.
Free Throw Percentage
Maybe there's a reason why LSU is trying not to get fouled... They have shot 65.7% from the line, however that number has been improving with every game and I find it as less of an issue than the previous two. The biggest reason for LSU's FT woes is Johnny O'Bryant shooting 58% and taking the lions share of our attempts. Martin has made 9/11 and needs to get his attempts. Stringer has been solid as always hitting 82% while Hickey has once again struggled in limited attempts making only 4/7 so far.
Keep it up
LSU has the 27th best defensive efficiency in the NCAA. And they do everything on defense well. They have held opponents to a 42% two point percentage (36NCAA) mostly in part to LSU's ability to block shots in the paint. LSU has also been an effective rebounding team which omits easy second chance putbacks. While there is some work to do in their press, overall, LSU has to be happy with the way their D has performed.
With all the interchangable parts LSU posses, Coach Jones has had some work discovering how to use his players and what combinations work. He has obviously found his starting lineup (Hickey, Stringer, Martin, Mickey, JOB) and he has also used the bench well in spurts to add energy. Coleman, Morgan, and Quarterman have given good minutes off the bench and will be the main guys coming off the bench during important games.
While Odo, Malone, and Hammink will get minutes, they won't play quite the role that the other 8 will. Coach has also shown that he is willing to play Quarterman and Hickey at the same time, which we didn't expect to see. Players are still fighting for time and at this point LSU fans have to feel good about the rotation.
LSU has been dominant on the boards (exception being Butler). LSU is 6th in the NCAA with 45.6 rebounds per game and rebound over 40% of their missed shots on offense. This has been able to counter LSU's turnover problem. Fix the turnover problem and LSU will be taking 10-20 more shots than their opponents per game.
In the Butler game, LSU was outrebounded in mostly due to Butler attacking the rim and a ton of long rebounds. Still, LSU has to feel good about rebounding with the personnel they have.
Singlehandedly Increasing the Interest in LSU Basketball
***Remember to continue checking the TigerDroppings Home Page for more LSU Hoops articles.***