Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-pHo1_vfOL0A/USlSdLmBm5I/AAAAAAAABGI/BrDMcIWGQ50/s1600/IMG_0471.JPG Who:
LSU Tigers (18-11,9-9) vs Georgia Bulldogs (15-16,9-9) When:
Thursday, March 14 - Noon Where:
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN How: TV: SECN
Radio: 98.1FM, 199XM, 126Sirius
For the second time this season, LSU faces the Georgia Bulldogs away from their Baton Rouge home. LSU (18-11,9-9) face UGA (15-16,9-9) in an SEC Tournament second round contest between the 8 and 9 seeds. In the teams first meeting in Athens, the game was tied at 54 with less than 5 minutes remaining before the Bulldogs were able to finish off the Tigers 67-58. Both of these teams have drastically improved themselves since that first meeting.
UGA went into that game sitting at 6-10 with an SEC record of 0-3, including a home loss to Mississippi State. LSU also went into the game with an 0-3 record in the SEC, including two very poor losses to Auburn and South Carolina. This time each team comes in after closing out the season strong. Both teams had a strong showing when the SEC Awards went public this week. UGA star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope won SEC player of the year and Charles Mann made the All-Freshman team, while LSU had 1st team All-SEC selection Johnny O'Bryant and All-Defensive team selection Anthony Hickey.
O'Bryant is averaging 14.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in SEC games. He has played his best ball since a breakout performance against UGA the first time. He tallied 16 points and 14 rebounds against the Bulldogs. Caldwell-Pope went for 22 points, 5 assists and 6 steals in the teams first meeting. LSU turned the ball over 21 times while having a season low 6 team assists. LSU's Charles Carmouche did not play in the game due to injury and could be a difference maker for the Tigers.
Carmouche has scored over 20 points in five of the Tigers last seven games. He left the Tigers game against Ole Miss in the first half due to injury, but was able to return. His presence will be a vital factor to the Tigers success. Image: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HgzpL_3LYlE/UUCQbKt5SrI/AAAAAAAABkI/xciQPRaqq5w/s1600/Starters+LSU+UGA.png
Georgia will bring out some big guards. To combat that, LSU may try to use Malik Morgan more than he has been used lately. He scored a career high 11 points against UGA in their first meeting and could be called upon again Thursday.
LSU turned the ball over on 31% of their possessions the first game. They have to be more careful with the ball. With UGA's big guards, they were able to get into passing lanes and forced LSU into some bad situations.
LSU may need this win to make the NIT tournament. With the auto bids (win conference, lose conference tournament, miss NCAA) starting to rack up, LSU is on the outside looking in. While some believe LSU will be in the NIT either way, it is important for LSU to get another win on their resume to solidify their spot in the NIT. Prediction:
LSU 65, UGA 62
This post was edited on 3/14 at 2:15 pm