Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Who: [9] LSU (22-10, 11-7) vs [8] NC State (20-13, 10-8)
What: NCAA Tournament second round (round of 64)
When: Thursday, March 19th - approximately 8:20pm (CST)
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
***TV: TBS
***Radio: 98.1FM

The LSU Tigers have officially punched their ticket to the big dance for the first time since 2009. LSU's resume' was an interesting one. The Tigers lost to 4 of the 5 worst teams in the SEC, but amazingly recorded a 6-1 record against teams that made the NCAA Tournament, including wins at 5 seeds West Virginia and Arkansas, a win over 10 seed Georgia, 11 seed Ole Miss (twice), and 14 seed UAB. LSU's only loss to a tournament team came to overall #1 seed Kentucky who beat the Tigers by 2 points.

LSU will meet up with the NC State Wolfpack in the first round of the tournament. NC State has had a similar season to LSU winning some big games while also losing some head scratchers. Wins vs Duke, North Carolina, and at Louisville show the promise of the Pack, but they also lost to Clemson, Boston College, and Wake Forest (bottom half ACC teams). NC State is 3-8 versus teams who made the NCAA Tournament.

There will be a couple familiar faces to LSU fans playing for NC State. Ralston Turner played his first two years of collegiate basketball at LSU under Trent Johnson before transferring. He is now a 5th year senior and a leader for the Wolfpack averaging 13.2 points per game. NC State's leading scorer, however, is Trevor Lacey, the Alabama transfer, who scored 18 points in two games against LSU during his freshman year.

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Similarly to LSU, NC State doesn't play a ton of players, however they rotate 4 post players to try and keep their big's from tiring. As a team, NC State makes 36.1% of their three pointers however Lacey (39.8%), Turner (37.6%), and Barber (40%) each shoot very impressively. Luckily for LSU, the Tigers shouldn't have trouble playing man to man in the post.

NC State struggles to turn opponents over and are near the bottom of the NCAA in defensive turnover % and steal %. Those are two places that really tend to hurt LSU so that could make for a good matchup. They have averaged a much slower pace and LSU will definitely try and get up and down the court and make transition buckets.

With the 5 day break, LSU can hopefully get Jordan Mickey healthy. On Saturday, he played in his worst game at LSU finishing the game with 1 point, 8 rebounds, 4 turnovers and 5 fouls in only 16 minutes. He had his shoulder taped up and never seemed to get fully into the game.

On the other hand, Keith Hornsby is playing his best basketball of the year. Over the last 4 games, Keith has averaged 19.3 points per game while making 48% of his three pointers. If Hornsby is guarded by Turner, I could see the very athletic Hornsby taking advantage of his speed and getting to the rim often.

Keys to the Game:
Perimeter Defense - LSU will face one of their toughest tests of the season as it pertains to perimeter defense. All three of NC State's starting guards can score in bunches. If LSU allows them to all go off, the Wolfpack will be playing on Saturday.

Stay Aggressive on Offense - LSU will have a pretty large advantage in athleticism in this one. They will push the tempo and try and force and force NC State to play transition defense. While NC State isn't great in half court defense, LSU is better suited to run against the Pack.

Make the Hustle Plays - This is the NCAA Tournament so this shouldn't be an issue, but LSU has to play with emotion and energy. They need to get the loose ball rebounds and make the hustle plays that get easy points.

LSU 76, NC State 71
Filed Under: LSU Basketball


user avatar
Go Tigers! Thanks, South of South!
Reply103 months
user avatar
Geaux get 'em Tigers!
Reply103 months
user avatar
Night game! Hell yes!
Reply103 months
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