by SouthOfSouthFebruary 5, 2014 11:49 AM
Who: LSU Tigers @ University of Georgia Bulldogs
When: Thursday, February 6 - 6:00pm
Where: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523 - 79th NCAA)
How: TV:ESPN2, Radio:98.1FM, Stream:ESPN3.com
Two teams moving in two directions. LSU comes off what is being considered the best week of LSU basketball since Johnny Jones was named the head man of the program after getting big wins against Kentucky and Arkansas. Georgia on the otherhand have lost 3 straight contests to Auburn (2-6), Vanderbilt (4-4), and Kentucky (7-2). Still, home teams are winning 70.7% of SEC games this year so any win for the Tigers would be promising.
Johnny O'Bryant and Jordan Mickey are both coming off monster weeks. O'Bryant averaged 26 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists last week. He shot 64% from the field and was named SEC player of the week. Mickey averaged 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 5.5 blocks. He was named SEC and National freshman of the week. All of this coincided with LSU's change to a 2-3 zone defense that gave two of the most prolific SEC offenses fits.
Georgia has the lowest two point shot percentage in the SEC. Their three point shot isn't much better sitting at 10th in the SEC. Still, UGA has a 9-2 record at home this season and are looking to get back to their early SEC form where they knocked off Missouri (away), Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina.
UGA will attack the LSU zone with some perimeter size and the ability to slash to the basket. PG Charles Mann is thier top threat and averages 13.5 points per game. He has the 12th highest free throw rate in the NCAA so it will be imperative for LSU to keep their hands off the 6'5" sophomore. 6'3" Kenny Gaines (11.8) and 6'8" Nemanda Djurisic (10.2) are the only other double digit scorers for UGA who averages only 69 points per game.
As a team, the Bulldogs shoot 66.2% from the free throw stripe and 33.1% from beyond the arc while LSU shoots 66.6% from the FT line and 33.9% from deep. Pretty similar, however, LSU once again has the major advantage scoring inside. UGA can expect a heavy dose of JOB and Mickey. LSU also hopes to get freshman Jarell Martin going as the 6'9" wing/forward has started to come into his own lately both shooting the three and getting to the rim.
The trio of impressive big men, coupled with two of the best assist to turnover ratio guard makes LSU a formidable opponent to anyone. Especially when the Tigers are playing like they did last week.
Keys to the Game:
Tempo: Anthony Hickey showed a very mature ability to read when to push and when to pull things back on offense. LSU needs that maturity going on the road. However, UGA is one of the slower teams in the SEC and LSU may want to push more often knowing it's not in UGA's comfort zone to have 70+ possessions per game, while LSU is.
Rebounds: LSU averages 5 more rebounds per game than UGA, and were able to rebound well in their first two games using the 2-3 zone. They have to continue to hit the boards, especially if they are in a zone.
Stay out of Foul Trouble: UGA has 1 way to stop JOBIII and Jordan Mickey; foul trouble. LSU has to make sure to contain the dribble and stay out of foul trouble, especially the big men.
LSU 75, UGA 68
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