LSU (10-5,0-3) goes to Athens to take on UGA (6-10, 0-3) in a must win for both squads. LSU comes off a very disappointing overtime loss at home to South Carolina, while UGA hits their home court after a road loss at Missouri. Tiger fans will see a very similar offensive gameplan from Georiga that LSU saw the past 4 years under Coach Trent Johnson. "I think it will help some of our guys that were here last year that are familiar with it. Anytime you're talking about scouting it's just going over plays. Knowing their strong points is what folks are looking for. So, I think that will be beneficial for the guys that were here," Jones said.
Georgia plays the exact opposite style of this years LSU squad. They slow the game down to a crawl. They average 63.1 (303 NCAA) possessions per game, while LSU averages 72.0 (20th NCAA) per game. The Bulldogs have struggled to shoot the ball well in their half court sets though. They only shoot 32.8% from three point land (200 NCAA), 45.1% from two point land (255 NCAA), and 66.8% from the free throw line (233 NCAA). LSU will however have to look out for UGA's sophomore guard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-h8YloGTIvdA/UPlKJ8TrzrI/AAAAAAAAAaE/hdqsPpWTNf8/s640/UGA+proj+starters.png
When in the game, Caldwell-Pope takes almost 33% of his teams shots. He leads his team in free throw attempts and makes, two pointer attempts and makes, and three pointer attempts and makes. He is quick and goes after steals and rarely leaves the court to sit on the bench.
UGA has yet to beat a decent team, besides Southern California, who recently fired their coach. While LSU has struggled the past 3 games to start their SEC schedule, they will be looking to compete and find a way to win on the road. Image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5DnFpHLwk2k/UPlKJ25GheI/AAAAAAAAAaI/GtgWK2WmtIs/s640/UGA+SoS.png
Caldwell-Pope will be LSU's toughest adversary, but Georgia does bring some decent size to the game. Donte' Williams at 6'9" 225 will be a tough ticket for Johnny O'Bryant who has continued to struggle staying out of foul trouble. While Williams only averages drawing 3.2 fouls per 40 minutes, teams have made a point at attacking O'Bryant to remove him from the game.
Off the bench, UGA brings 6'8" sophomore Nemanja Djurisic who hails from the small nation of Montenegro. He is a prototypical international swing man (similar to Hammink) who can shoot the three pointer, dribble drive, and get fouled. His length could be an issue for LSU. The Georgia squad is young but long and will give LSU everything they've got.
I think there are three things LSU needs to do well to win any SEC game; rebound, take care of the ball, and make open shots. If LSU is able to win the rebounding game, not turn the ball over like the South Carolina game, and make the open shots, they will win this game. LSU was able to do 2 of the three against USC, but the 22 turnovers were the difference in the game. Keeping their turnovers in the mid teens is fine as long as they can make the open shots and rebound well.
While many people don't have confidence in this LSU squad after their disappointing home loss on Wednesday, I am confident that LSU comes out and really plays well at Georgia. I think the Tigers use controlled chaos to force some turnovers and make some easy baskets. Caldwell-Pope gets his points, but noone else kills us as the Tigers win on a late run.
LSU 64, Georgia 58
This post was edited on 1/19 at 9:12 pm