Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Who: LSU Tigers (11-2) @ Missouri Tigers (6-7)
What: SEC Opener
When: Thursday, Jan 8th - 6:00PM
Where: Mizzou Arena (15,061, 30th NCAA) - Columbia, MO
How:
***TV: ESPN2
***Radio: 98.1FM
***Stream: ESPN3.com

LSU has had an out of conference stretch to remember. LSU's current 8 game winning streak is LSU's longest since winning 10 straight games in 2009. They will have an opportunity to surpass that stretch in the coming weeks. With SEC football now over, it is time for LSU fans to turn their attention to the hard court.

In Johnny Jones' 3rd year as head man in Baton Rouge, he has made significant strides. He has started to stockpile talent that is starting to become evident to national pundits. LSU received the 29th most votes in this weeks AP Poll and have a top 10 recruiting class coming in next year, but let's not overlook what this year's squad can accomplish.

LSU is currently 2-0 in true road games and look to improve that record Thursday night in Columbia, MO. The Missouri Tigers lost so much talent off last years 23 win team and have subsequently struggled often this year. They are led by Johnathan Williams, a 6'9" forward who can stretch the defense. He leads Missouri in points, rebounds, and blocks per game.

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Last season, the SEC was the 2nd toughest conference in basketball to win on the road. In the Johnny Jones era, LSU has an SEC road record of 5-13, but you only have one chance to be 1-0 in SEC play and LSU has to come ready to beat Missouri in their SEC opener.

Missouri has been average in almost all categories. Middle of the road shooting team, defending team, size, and bench. The one thing that stands out when looking at Missouri advanced analytics is their inability to keep opponents off the free throw line. They are 310th in FTA/FGA defense and has had someone foul out in 6 of their 12 games against division 1 opponents. While LSU has struggled to get to the line this season, the Missouri Tigers are a team that LSU should attack.

Since the addition of Jakeenan Gant four games ago, Missouri has played much better basketball. In their last three games they beat Lipscomb by 12 and lost to two very good teams in Oklahoma St (by 2 in overtime) and Illinois (by 3).

Keys to the Game:

Getting to the FT Line: LSU has struggled to get to the free throw line, but Missouri has struggled to keep opponents off the charity stripe... Whichever teams inability wins out in this one could have a major impact on the scoreboard.

Starting Strong: In each of LSU's road games, they have trailed by double digit's in the first half. While LSU was able to come back from both deficits, the Tigers cannot allow another team to get a big lead at home.

Defend the Perimeter: The three point basket is the great equalizer. LSU has more talent and is playing better basketball than Missouri, but any team that can knock down three's consistently for a game can beat anyone. LSU cannot allow Mizzou perimeter players space outside.

Prediction:
LSU 74, Missouri 62
Filed Under: LSU Basketball

Comments

3 Comments
12 wins in sec play will be an at-large bid lock. 10 wins will have LSU on the bubble, but 8-9 wins might have the Tigers as a #1 seed in the NIT.
Reply75 months
We need to take care of this one to begin a strong run in the SEC to get a worthwhile bid in the tourney. We don't have to go undefeated, but a good 8-10 wins would be great.
Reply75 months
key information: "Since the addition of Jakeenan Gant four games ago, Missouri has played much better basketball. In their last three games they beat Lipscomb by 12 and lost to two very good teams in Oklahoma St (by 2 in overtime) and Illinois (by 3)."

Tigers gotta take care of business at home!
Reply75 months
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