Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Who: LSU Tigers (16-5, 5-3) vs Auburn Tigers (10-11, 2-6)
When: Thursday, February 5th - 6:00PM
Where: PMAC (13,215 - 45th NCAA) - Baton Rouge, LA
How:
***TV: ESPN2
***Radio: 98.1FM
***Stream: ESPN3.com

After winning five of six games, LSU was never able to get things together over the weekend in a road loss at Mississippi St. The Tigers have to regroup before starting a 3 game homestand with a good mix of competition. On Thursday night, in front of a national TV audience, LSU will host Auburn who has lost their last four games and are 0-7 on the road this year.

The Auburn Tigers do have some good wins this year. They beat Oregon St on a neutral court as well as Xavier and South Carolina at home. There will also be some very interesting matchups in this one of strength vs strength. Both team's have a perimeter scoring threat from the shooting forwards. Auburn's KT Harrell averages 17 points a game, while LSU's Jarell Martin is just behind him at 16 points per game. They also boast the only two players averaging double-doubles; Jordan Mickey with 16.4PPG and 10.9RPG as well as Cinmeon Bowers with 13.5PPG and 11.0RPG.

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As a team, Auburn shoots 32.9% from three, 40.8% field goals, and 65.1% from the free throw line. They get shots blocked pretty often, but at the same time they get to the free throw line very often. Teams who attack the paint have been some trouble to LSU, so they will have to make sure to stay out of foul trouble.

Matchup to Watch
After one of Jarell Martin's least impressive games of the season against Mississippi St, he gets to redeem himself against Auburn's leading scorer KT Harrell. Martin will have a serious height advantage on Harrell who stands at only 6'4" tall. However, Harrell can attack in a lot of ways. The most obvious is at the three point line, where he is shooting an impressive 43% (52/121). He is also able to get to the free throw line and drive to the basket.

Martin will need to get more aggressive than he was over the weekend. In the Tiger's loss to the Bulldogs, Martin was only 1/4 from the field with 4 points (2/2 FTs). He only played 27 minutes due to foul trouble and was never able to get into a rhythm. Getting to the rim and getting offensive rebounds should help him get involved. He will be taller than anyone Auburn brings to the floor.

Keys to the Game
Rebounding is a key in this game, not because Auburn is good at it, but because LSU should be able to dominate the boards, leading to some easy buckets. Besides Bowers, Auburn has no one average more than 3.2 rebounds per game. LSU could easily hold a 20+ rebound margin which should lead to many more shots.

Foul Trouble will also be important in this one, especially for Martin and Mickey. LSU does not have the depth to allow players extended time on the bench. Epps did show promise in his time off the bench against Mississippi St but Martin and Mickey are too important to sit.

Free Throw Shooting has been a positive for LSU this year, however, in each of their SEC losses, free throw shooting has played a significant part. The Tigers have to get to the line and hit their shots. With their vast height advantages, they should be able to get to the rim, and they have to finish, whether it is at the free throw line or on the floor.

Prediction
LSU 80, Auburn 69
Filed Under: LSU Basketball

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