Louisiana State University Tigers (14-8,5-6) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-16,2-9) When:
Saturday, February 16th - 4:00pm Where:
Baton Rouge, Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215, 47th NCAA) How: TV:
98.1FM, 201XM, 94Sirius Stream:
LSU has a chance to get to .500 in SEC play for the first time this season with a win over struggling Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have lost nine in a row after starting the season 2-0, one of which was a tough loss at home versus LSU at the beginning of the month. LSU was able to come back from 17 down and win with a last second shot by Anthony Hickey.
LSU tries to continue their hot streak, which can be contributed to the recent development of Johnny O'Bryant, who has 7 double-doubles in his past 8 games. He is now tied for the SEC lead with 10 and has continued to grow as a player.
LSU will be honoring the 1953 NCAA Final Four team at halftime of the game. At the time, only 22 teams were invited to the NCAA Tournament. LSU's most notable player from that team was LSU and NBA great Bob Pettit. This is the 60 year reunion and the living Tigers will be in attendance.
While Mississippi State has lost their last nine, there is reason to still worry. LSU was down 17 to the same bunch just two weeks ago. While they only have 6 scholarship players, they have played tough under first year coach, Rick Ray. He came to State with confidence. "The only thing I've ever done is win ballgames," Ray said during a press conference on the floor of Humphrey Coliseum. "We're going to win."
Similar to Coach Jones, Rick wants to push the tempo, and similar to Coach Jones, he doesn't have the personnel to do so. The Bulldogs have even less after a mass exodus of players from the program following 14 year Coach Rick Stansbury's "retirement".
In their last meeting, LSU had five players score over 9 points, three players with over 3 assists, and three players with over 7 rebounds. They used a balanced attack to take out the Bulldogs late. Both Johnny O'Bryant and Shavon Coleman fouled out in their previous meeting, and LSU will need to make sure they are able to keep those two out of foul trouble this time around.
So just how bad has Mississippi State been in SEC play? Well, they are last in offensive efficiency, turnover %, offensive rebounding, and second to last in effective field goal%, and that's just on the offensive end. They are also last in defensive efficiency, effective FG% defense, offensive rebound %, and two point percentage. It would be a catastrophic setback if LSU is unable to win, but LSU should come in confident that they can win, and win big. Against South Carolina, LSU won by double figures for the first time in SEC play. In fact, their four previous SEC wins were by a total of 9 points. The 18 point win on the road should give the Tigers confidence to extend leads and finish strong.
I see LSU having no problem putting away the Bulldogs, making it to .500 in SEC play, and working toward a better seeding in the SEC Tournament. It would be nice to get Hickey started again after a few lackluster performances as of late, and to keep Johnny O'Bryant hot. Prediction:
LSU 75, Mississippi State 59
This post was edited on 2/15 at 1:11 pm