I normally wait for the afternoon, but this game is so important I got over excited. SEC Tournament seeding will be greatly improved with a win in this one. For more, the last couple paragraphs gives an update on the SEC. Who:
LSU Tigers (13-7,4-5) @ Alabama Crimson Tide (14-8,6-3) When:
Saturday, Feb 9th - 7:00pm Where:
Tuscaloosa, AL - Coleman Coliseum (15316, 27th NCAA) TV:
LSU takes their three game winning streak to Tuscaloosa when they play Alabama Saturday night in front of a national audience on ESPN 2. Alabama comes off their poorest offensive performance of the season only scoring 37 in a loss to state rival Auburn. Alabama hasn't scored 60 over their last 6 games. LSU has won four of their last five to come within 1 game of .500 in SEC play after starting the SEC schedule 0-4. They have made the big turnaround on the back of their full court press, solid half court defense, and inside-out half court offense.
Johnny O'Bryant has been a force inside averaging a double double over his last 6 games (Had 5 in a row before Vanderbilt) and has been more efficient passing out of the post. They will be facing a Crimson Tide team that has very few scoring threats down low. They will start Moussa Gueye, the 7' center who averages 1.5 points per game. Their main post scoring threat is sophomore Nick Jacobs who is 6'8" 265 and averages 6.3 points per game. Alabama has a guard oriented lineup, but like to slow the pace. They average 61.5 possessions per game which is 325th in the NCAA (LSU 70.8, 26th NCAA).
Alabama is 4-0 at home in the SEC, with wins over Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Arkansas. They held their opponent to under 60 points in 3 of the 4 games. The keys to this game will be LSU continuing to play good defense, and making a few shots. Alabama has struggled giving up too many offensive rebounds so LSU could use the boards as a way to get more possessions against the Crimson Tide. Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-g1Wbm8GFvg4/URT4yGzsU_I/AAAAAAAAAyw/RHNrnMrJDwk/s1600/Starters+Bama.png
Alabama's defense is very stout in the halfcourt, so it may behoove LSU to get out on fast break opportunities. Alabama's inability to score also makes it imperative LSU keeps turnovers to a minimum, especially turnovers that could lead to fast break points. Trevor Lacey has been a very solid point guard for the Crimson Tide as well as off guard Trevor Releford. If LSU can contain the scoring of the Trevors, they should be in a great position to get the road win.
It will be interesting to see what Coleman does going up against 6'6" Cooper. Both have played against much taller opponents to this point and both Cooper and Coleman will try to flex their offensive muscles against their undersized counterpart. Image: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MMmeWssie9I/URT4virMzyI/AAAAAAAAAyo/nOwLvl1bVyE/s1600/SoS+pre+Bama.png
As you can see the two Trevor's are he highest active players in both unadjusted and adjusted SoS. If we can limit their impact on the game, LSU has a very legitimate opportunity to win this game. That being said, Alabama has been very stiff at home. It will take a very good performance for LSU to win this game. Winning it however will really vault LSU into the top half of the SEC and give them an opportunity to get in position for good SEC tournament seeding. Image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-g_iJ1F-NkiM/URUClgqZ9cI/AAAAAAAAAzc/Jnh3MAkaP7A/s1600/Standings+2.7.png
With a win, LSU could move to within a game of fourth place. Missouri lost to Texas A&M last night really opening up the top part of the SEC. Getting into 4th place gives you a two round bye in the SEC tournament. A win on Saturday gives LSU great positioning to get to that coveted spot. After Saturday, LSU has two very winnable games at South Carolina (1st meeting LSU lost in OT) and vs Mississippi State before going to Tennessee to another SEC inept offense. Of the four game stretch, Saturday is the toughest for the Tigers.
The SEC is wide open, and it could really benefit LSU if they continue to manufacture wins. LSU should really force the issue and try and speed up the game. Alabama has lost each of their three most up-tempo Div 1 games this season. They struggle to score, and they do not have the assets to defeat LSU down low. The matchup gives LSU the opportunity to take the next step to being a contender in the SEC. It is tough to win on the road, but this road win would put LSU back on the NCAA tournament map (still don't think they make it). Prediction:
LSU 65, Alabama 61- UPSET ALERT
This post was edited on 2/8 at 11:00 am