Who: West Virginia Mountaineers (7-0)
What: SEC/Big12 Challenge
When: Thursday, December 4th - 6:00pm
Where: WVU Coliseum (14,000, 41st NCAA) Morgantown, WV
How:
***TV: ESPN2
***Radio: 98.1FM
***Stream: ESPN3.com

Just 46 hours after LSU's most convincing win of the season, LSU must travel to the unfriendly confines of Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the 16th ranked Mountaineers. West Virginia comes into the game 7-0 with a very impressive 10 point win over UCONN. The Mountain Men use a ton of defensive pressure and depth to ware out their opponents; a tactic that could really hurt the depthless Tigers.

While they don't wow you offensively, they have scored over 75 points in 5 of their 7 games due to two main factors; rebounding and turnovers.

The Mountaineers have rebounded 45.3% of their own misses. That is second best in the country. In fact, they have more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds (144 vs 142). It will be key for LSU to limit second chance opportunities against West Virginia.

West Virginia has even more staggering numbers in the turnover game. West Virginia averages a minuscule 10.6 turnovers per game. Even more incredible may be the 23.1 turnovers they force. The Mountaineers use high pressure to speed up their opponents. Their opponents average only 14.1 seconds per possession, which is the lowest in the NCAA. LSU will really need to make sure they protect the ball

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West Virginia doesn't have a height advantage over LSU, but uses their 10 man rotation to tirelessly fight for the ball both on the boards and on defense. They have the 11th most bench minutes in the nation. They aren't a great shooting team. They average 31.2% from three point range (227th in NCAA), 47.4% from two point range (177th in NCAA), and 65.9% from the free throw line (235th in NCAA). Still, with rebounding and turnover margin, they have been able to crush opponents.

This game will take complete concentration by the Tigers. A rowdy crowd and a team that relies heavily on forcing opponents make mistakes is a true test of the mental fortitude of a team.

This is an important game for LSU. With two early losses, LSU needs a statement win to prove they deserve a look at the NCAA Tournament. This is a game that could be a huge statement win over a very good Big 12 team. The SEC has some pretty bad losses (Cue #SECBasketballFever) but Arkansas has emerged from the pack as a tournament caliber team. LSU could do the same, turning the corner on the road.

Keys to the Game:

1. Turnover Margin: LSU doesn't have to win the turnover battle, but keeping it close is imperative. LSU turned the ball over way too much against UMASS and will have to slow down their pace on offense and get good looks out of their halfcourt sets to have a chance against WVU.

2. Rebounding: Connecticut is the only team to out-rebound West Virginia this season, but the Mountain Men were still able to win due to their best shooting performance of the year. LSU will need to keep WVU off the offensive glass or it could be a long night for the Tigers.

3. Scoring in the Paint: LSU scored 52 points in the paint against UMASS and West Virginia is allowing opponents to shoot 53.9% from two point range. That could be a deadly combo for LSU's offense.

Prediction:

West Virginia 76, LSU 72
Filed Under: LSU Basketball

Comments

3 Comments
If LSU plays like they did Tuesday, not even Kentucky would beat the Tigers.

Clemson is now the only "bad" loss on Lsu's record. ODU took down a biggie Tuesday as well in VCU.

A win tonight puts LSU back on the bubble! Tonight, Josh Gray becomes nationally known.

LSU 79
WVU 75
Reply80 months
LSU is gona learn today
Reply80 months
Great Write up SouthofSouth! I'm pumped for tomorrow night! Geaux Tigers!
Reply80 months
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