Who: UAB Blazers
When: Thursday, December 18 - 8:00pm
Where: Birmingham, AL - Bartow Arena (8,500, 132nd NCAA)
How:
***TV: CBS-S (In BR - ATT1643, Dish158, DTV221, CoxNONE. For others check HERE.)
***Radio: 98.1FM
***Stream: None (That I'm aware of, will continue looking)

LSU has been playing some really good basketball, however, LSU goes to Birmingham with some serious question marks. Neither Josh Gray (ankle sprain) or Tim Quarterman (Knee) has been practicing this week due to injury. I'd say at this point, Gray is unlikely to play while Quarterman is questionable at best. Even if Quarterman is able to go, there is a chance Coach Jones starts Patterson due to his love for the "spark" Quarterman can bring off the bench.

Luckily, UAB isn't a very good team because if LSU cannot play either of their PG's they will be in some serious trouble, both offensively and defensively.

Projected UAB Starters:

Robert Brown (6'5" 190 Jr) 29.3MPG, 12.4PPG, 3.9RPG, 2.7APG
Denzell Watts (6'2" 207 So) 15.9MPG, 2.2PPG, 1.8APG, 82%FT, 18.5%FG
Tyler Madison (6'4" 225 So) 19.5MPG, 9.3PPG, 3.5RPG, 53%FG
William Lee (6'9" 210 Fr) 15.3MPG, 3.3PPG, 3.3RPG, 35.7%FG
Tosin Mehinti (6'9" 213 So) 24MPG, 7.6PPG, 4.0RPG, 52.6%FG

Projected LSU Starters:

Jalyn Patterson (6'0" 173 Fr) 13.6MPG, 2.2PPG, 2.0RPG, 1.0APG, 28%FG
Keith Hornsby (6'4" 210 Jr) 35MPG, 12.7PPG, 5.0RPG, 2.3APG, 37.2%3PT
Jarell Martin (6'10" 236 So) 35.2MPG, 15.9PPG, 9.3RPG, 75%FT
Jordan Mickey (6'8" 235 So) 34.5MPG, 16.3PPG, 10.1RPG, 2.1APG, 2.4BPG, 53.2%FG
John Odo (6'10" 245 Sr) 12.6MPG, 2.9PPG, 1.6RPG, 61.5%FG

The most interesting aspect of this game may be how LSU copes with the possible loss of their only two PG's. I'm not sure there has been a moment of this season where Quarterman and Gray were both on the bench, and we will likely see 40 minutes of that very lineup on Thursday night.

If Quarterman cannot go, I expect a heavy dose of Jalyn Patterson at the PG. Johnny Jones said he may be forced to play Jarell Martin at the 2 on occasion, so when Patterson sits, you could see Hornsby playing PG with Martin or Epps playing at the 2. I fully expect to see some Epps for the first time since he played 3 minutes against Weber St almost a month ago.

UAB Schedule/Results:

ULM 74 @ UAB 65 (Loss)
Young Harris 81 @ UAB 94 (Win)
South Florida 73 @ UAB 71 OT (Loss)
Jackson St 50 @ UAB 58 (Win)
Wisconsin 72 vs UAB 43 (Loss)
Florida 56 vs UAB 47 (Loss)
UCLA 88 vs UAB 76 (Loss)
Morehead St 48 @ UAB 58 (Win)
Illinois St 78 @ UAB 74 (Loss)
UNC Asheville 71 @ UAB 79 (Win)

UAB has really struggled on offense this season. As a team they shoot under 30% from three point range, under 46% from two point range, and under 69% from the free throw line. They have also allowed a ton of offensive rebounds and LSU should be able to take advantage there.

The Blazers also use a 10 player rotation. With LSU possibly down two players, I could see LSU really getting tired down the stretch run. UAB does not have a single player who averages over 30 minutes per game.

Keys to Victory:

Second Chance Points: LSU has been good getting offensive rebounds and UAB has been bad allowing far too many. Could this be the way LSU is able to get their offense going without a true PG? Absolutely.

Staying Out of Foul Trouble: Likely down two of their top five players, LSU cannot afford to get into foul trouble. A couple quick fouls by Martin or Mickey could lead to a monumental collapse in this one. The Tigers cannot pick up any silly fouls and expect to stay in this one.

Get to the Free Throw Line: Jarell Martin has been excellent at getting to the free throw line this year, but LSU needs Mickey and Hornsby to step up their game driving to the rim as well. Hornsby will have the ball in his hands much more often than usual in this one, which could translate to more FT attempts.


Prediction:

LSU is only 1-2 when scoring under 70 points this year, but I think this one bucks that trend...

LSU 68, UAB 58
Filed Under: LSU Basketball

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