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LSU's (9-4,0-2) coach Johnny Jones looks for his first career SEC win against the South Carolina (10-5,0-2) Gamecocks on Wednesday night in the PMAC. The 7:00pm game will give one of the two teams their first conference win of the young SEC season. Both teams will be using their strengths versus their opponents weakness.
LSU has been near the top of the NCAA in steals and forcing turnovers all season. South Carolina comes in averaging 18 turnovers per game and ranked 332nd in opponent steal %. That bodes very well for LSU who is 6th in steal % in the NCAA on the season.
South Carolina comes in 2nd in the NCAA in offensive rebound percentage rebounding over 45% of their missed shots. LSU has recently struggled to keep their opponent off the offensive boards allowing Florida 17 offensive rebounds and Auburn 14. LSU will really have to work to keep the very active and athletic gamecocks off the glass.
South Carolina is led by Lakeem Jackson, the 6'5" 235lb senior who averages 9.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He shoots over 61% from the field and can hurt you in many different ways. Two games ago, South Carolina finally got back veteran guard Bruce Ellington, who has scored 18 and 11 in his two games back. However, in his first game back he had 9 turnovers on only two assists in 23 minutes. Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--B51dfQNAxs/UPVWhgmCqEI/AAAAAAAAATE/ZcXP8KeVZ4U/s640/SoS+pre+SC.png
Brenton Williams is leading the team in scoring at 11.5 per game. Williams shoots well from the field hitting 80.4% free throws, 57.4% from two point percentage, and 45.1% from three point range. South Carolina have 5 active players averaging over 9 points per game, even after LaShay Page went down with an injury 9 games into the season.
South Carolina does not have a win against anyone in the top 100 RPI, and 8 of their 10 wins are against teams worse than 200 RPI. They have struggled all season against some lesser competition, but this is league play and anything can happen. Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1JsZUzhb2wo/UPVbLB1JVmI/AAAAAAAAATc/_VBa_1Kr7rQ/s640/SC+Starters.png
Amazingly enough, LSU's starting guards should each be the same height as their counterpart. LSU does hold a significant advantage in height down low and it will most likely a major emphasis to get the ball down low to Del Piero and O'Bryant. None of the South Carolina post players draw many fouls so that should be a plus to keeping O'Bryant on the floor.
While this game probably won't be a blowout, I think LSU controls the pace and the game and wins. South Carolina's defense has given up at least a point per possession in all but 2 games this season. Hopefully LSU leaves the gym Wednesday night with the confidence moving forward that they can score on SEC opponents have a tough start.
LSU 78, South Carolina 66
Article on Coach JJ's Presser Here
This post was edited on 1/15 at 2:04 pm