LSU (12-7,3-5) vs Vanderbilt (8-12,2-6) When:
Wednesday, Feb 6 - 7:00pm Where:
Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215, 47th NCAA) How: TV:
98.1FM, 200XM Stream:
LSU has won three of their last four after a methodical 17 point comeback in Starkville Saturday night. LSU has another test against the Vanderbilt Commodores at home Wednesday night. Vandy's record isn't impressive, but they only lost to Kentucky by 2, Ole Miss by 10, Tennessee by 1 and Alabama by 4. They also beat South Carolina and Auburn, two teams that beat LSU this season. That being said, I think LSU will come into the game as about a 6 point favorite.
LSU wouldn't be on this streak without their point guard, Anthony Hickey. Jones stated in his press conference, "He's what I like to call a warrior and a winner. He doesn't shy away or back away from those opportunities at the end of games. He wants to be a part of it and in the middle of it, be it on the defensive end or offensive end. I think he's really worked hard on trying to continue to improve, to get better and earning the respect of his teammates. I think, not only on the floor, but off as well."
Hickey has himself a pretty tough matchup going up against 6'4" Kedren Johnson. He averages 14.9PPG, 3.9RPG, 3.2APG, 1.4SPG, and shoots almost 36% from beyond the arc. He is also second on the team in blocks with 0.6 per game. Johnson will have 5 inches on the much shorter Hickey which may play to Hickey's advantage when playing defense. Hickey has been very good at stealing the ball off the dribble and Johnson has a long way to dribble the ball. It will be an interesting matchup to watch.
Vanderbilts 6'1" junior guard, Kyle Fuller is also a threat to have a big game. He had a season high 25 points in Vanderbilts road win at Xavier earlier this year. He also had 4 rebounds and 5 assists in that contest. He is the only other Commodore with double figure scoring, but Vanderbilt uses a range of weapons to take advantage of mismatches. Image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7WosMBSTNyA/UREQTgLYsAI/AAAAAAAAArk/Y0fQdQ4peT0/s1600/Starters+Vandy.png
They rotate in starters so the Vanderbilt starting lineup may not be very important. In the last 4 games they have had 4 different starting lineups. They like to try and take advantage of mismatches. One noticeable one may be down low where Vanderbilt has 6'9" Rod Odom, 6'8" Shelby Moats, and 6'11" Josh Henderson. While none of the group is especially impressive, using the three to battle Johnny O'Bryant down low will be an important part of Vanderbilt's gameplan.
Coach Jones touched on O'Bryant's importance in his pregame press conference. "I think anytime a player is on the floor and can really have an impact on the game just because of their presence, it means a lot. It's good to have guys out there that can be productive just because of their presence on the floor." Image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-V7R276qePu0/UREQTrwIj5I/AAAAAAAAAro/ohooFKCRvWA/s1600/SoS+pre+Vandy.png
While Hickey really impressed in the last minute of the Miss State game, the rest of his game was less than stellar, dropping him into second on the team behind Charles Carmouche for team best Adjusted SoS. Either way, the guard matchup of Hickey v Johnson will really show each teams star in action.
Johnny O'Bryant has five straight double doubles and looks to continue his success. Collins was able to return to LSU's lineup with a face mask after having a head/face injury in the Kentucky loss. LSU removed Andrew Del Piero from the starting lineup for the first time since November 24th on Saturday when Jones went with Coleman over the 7'3" center. Prediction:
LSU 70, Vanderbilt 60
This post was edited on 2/5 at 4:19 pm