Is there anything better for college basketball than early season tournament action? I say no. Over a stretch of 3 weeks, college basketball teams all over compete in neutral site, tournament style basketball. Eight teams enter, one leaves undefeated, but all leave learning something about their team.

The Old Spice Classic brought together one of the more impressive fields, including 5 NCAA tournament hopefuls. LSU's second round opponent, Memphis, beat top five Oklahoma State in the Championship game. LSU was able to beat a very solid Butler team to earn third place honors. Even Saint Joseph's, LSU's first round opponent swept through the rest of the field to earn fifth place in what ended up being 12 very exciting games in Orlando.

LSU 82, Saint Joseph's 65

This was LSU's only complete game of the tournament. They were able to beat SJU on all facets of the game. They shot 53% from the field, including 10-22 from three point land. They outrebounded the Hawks 38-29 and had a positive AST:TO ratio of 17:16. Andre Stringer led the scoring with 18 points and Mickey had another double double with 14 points and 10 boards.

LSU struggled to contain SJU center Ronald Roberts, an All-Tournament Team Selection, allowing 21 points for the big man. It was also the first game Jordan Mickey was not able to record a blocked shot. Still, LSU convincingly won the game, due in large part to a successful stint by the second stringers who brought energy to what started as a lethargic team effort.

Player Grades:
Johnny O'Bryant (B)
Jarell Martin (A)
Jordan Mickey (A)
Anthony Hickey (B+)
Andre Stringer (A)
John Odo (C+)
Shavon Coleman (A)
Darcy Malone (C-)
Malik Morgan (C)
Tim Quarterman (B-)

#21 Memphis 76, LSU 69

LSU went into halftime up 38-34 despite struggling with turnovers. The Tigers shot well (57% field goals), and rebounded well (38 with +13 diff) but lost the game with an AST:TO ratio of 8:24. Johnny O'Bryant himself had 10 turnovers in the game. In only 4 minutes of action, Tim Quarterman had 3 turnovers. So while LSU shot over 10% better than Memphis, they took 11 less shots and made only 4 of 9 free throw attempts. Still, LSU had chances to beat a top 25 team not playing their best.

Anthony Hickey had 20 points and only 2 turnovers in the game. Johnny O'Bryant had 14 and Jordan Mickey had 10. Andre Stringer had a season low 2 points and the 69 total points marked the first time LSU failed to score at least 80 in a contest this season.

Player Grades:
Johnny O'Bryant (C-)
Jarell Martin (B)
Jordan Mickey (B-)
Anthony Hickey (A)
Andre Stringer (B)
John Odo (B)
Shavon Coleman (A-)
Malik Morgan (B+)
Tim Quarterman (B-)

LSU 70, Butler 68 OT

LSU played in their first overtime game while facing the Butler Bulldogs in the third place game. Butler controlled the pace, slowing the game down, however LSU was still able to force an uncharacteristic amount of turnovers from the Bulldogs. In the first two games combined the Bulldogs only committed 13 turnovers and the Tigers were able to force Butler into 12. In fact, LSU was able to take care of the ball better than normal only committing 10 turnovers of their own. However rebounds almost lost the game for the Tigers.

LSU entered the game averaging a +13 rebound margin and left being outrebounded 48-36. They allowed 18 offensive boards and it almost did them in. With 10 seconds remaining neither Anthony Hickey or Andre Stringer had scored. But if you've followed LSU basketball the past 3 years, you knew the final play (down 3) would go to one of the two. On a play meant for Stringer, he found a wide open Hickey at the top of the key who knocked down a game tying trey with 4 seconds remaining. Butler missed their running three pointer at the buzzer.

Andre Stringer scored 2 very important points in OT and the Tigers ended victoriously. Coach Jones managed the game very well down the stretch and drew up some very good looking plays to get LSU open shots in the closing minutes. Jarell Martin received the pass, curling around 2 screens to get easy looks twice late in the game, but you can't forget about the effort LSU got off it's bench.

Shavon Coleman and Malik Morgan brought it off the bench. Both finished with 12 points and Morgan added 7 rebounds and 3 steals. O'Bryant scored 17 while Mickey and Martin both scored 12 to give LSU a rounded scoring game from everyone over 6' tall. Though Stringer only had 2 points, he contributed with a 5:0 AST:TO and never forced anything. This victory could go a long way in building the character of this team as well as getting LSU into the tournament come March.

Player Grades:
Johnny O'Bryant (A-)
Jarell Martin (A-)
Jordan Mickey (A-)
Andre Stringer (B-)
Anthony Hickey (C+)
Shavon Coleman (A)
Malik Morgan (A)
Tim Quarterman (C+)

In the end, LSU would have loved to play Memphis better, but LSU learned a lot about themselves this weekend. You saw what will likely be the SEC rotation against Butler with only 8 playing the majority of the minutes. Hickey, Stringer, Martin, Mickey, and JOB will be the starters. Coleman, Morgan, and Quarterman will come off the bench with significant playing time. Odo, Malone and Hammink will play spot minutes in given situations, but won't see the kind of time the other 8 will.

The Tigers moved up from 51st in KenPom Computer rating to 41st. They received two top 100 wins. LSU's RPI is currently at 49th, but I expect those two wins to carry more RPI weight later this season after both teams get into their conference play.
Filed Under: LSU Basketball



Andre Stringer (B-)
Anthony Hickey (C+)

Not sure I agree with you on these grades South.
Andre deserves a B+. I know he didn't score at the level he usually has this season, but he was relentless when he was on Denham, especially in the 2nd half & OT.
I think I was in a better position to view this than most, since I was at the game, behind the bench and not watching on TV. I could see the physical effort and some of the slight nuances, up close and personal. Denham had about 6" on him, but Andre ran around with him most the time, keeping about a foot or less away from him. It did inhibit Denham's play, keeping him to 20 points. Denham is extremely fast and agile, he does this little stutter side to side head/body fake all the time which fooled WSU most of their game, when he scored 32 points. Andre didn't fall for it and worked very hard to move through and around the screens Butler set for Denham, even though everyone was taller. I liked his effort on a difficult job. Coach Jones knew what he was doing when deciding to put Stringer in for that (Malik was pretty good on him too).
Also, on the final regulation play from the timeout, where Hickey scored the 3, (which was as you say, drawn up for Dre). He knew he didn't have a great look and saw Anthony coming in and knowing time was running out was quick-thinking enough to pass it to him. He had confidence in Anthony. I think that was a great decision.

As to Hickey, he did a good job of running the half court offenses, patiently trying to find players open, not getting frustrated or speeding up. He also was right in there sneakily setting picks down low and trying to hold position amongst the big trees. I think it surprised Butler a few times.
Like Andre, he's not afraid of putting his body on the line, despite his size. Give him a B.
Once Jarell gets used to running off the ball more, these offenses will work much better, giving the guards/CJJ options.

I'm generally not a fan of running a half-court offense on a breakaway BTW. I'd like to see us run a fast break most of the time when Hickey & Stringer are out there, IMO. They're so fast and great ball-handlers, with a player like Mickey they can outgun many a team. I'm a bit surprised that CJJ doesn't go to this more since I was expecting more of a run & gun game style from him, with all the bench depth we have now?????

Reply48 months
nice job. I missed 2 of these games but I am looking for good things this year
48 months

Andre deserves a B+. I know he didn't score at the level he usually has this season, but he was relentless when he was on Denham, especially in the 2nd half & OT.

This is exactly the point I was trying to make. Dunham was making noise from the perimeter the whole tournament including setting the single game scoring record at 32 pts. Stringer may not have scored much but his hustle and scrappy defensive play kept Dunham's scoring to his low for the tournament. Not the mention the huge size advantage Dunham had at 6'6". Andre was in and out the whole game but when he was in, his defense pestered Dunham and really settle his scoring down. Hats off to Stringer for his hustle and him finding a way to contribute to a huge OOC win without putting up big scoring numbers.
:cheers: :geauxtigers:
48 months
I agree with you and others. Martin has to stop settling for so many jumpers and attack the basket. He looks to be one of our better free throw shooters. Therefore he needs to be fouled.

JOB and Mickey looked tired against Butler and I think that had something to do with our lack of rebounding and why the fairly fresh Morgan and Coleman did well. I would have liked Odo and Hammink to get some minutes so the others didn't wear down.
Reply48 months
The thing that impressed me the most was the focus on getting the ball down low to Mickey and JOB. Many college teams find it difficult to commit to strategies like that.
Reply48 months

The thing that impressed me the most was the focus on getting the ball down low to Mickey and JOB. Many college teams find it difficult to commit to strategies like that.

I think LSU did well getting it down to Mickey. They didn't double team him and he was able to score or pass very well.
48 months
Basketball is the only area of writing on Tigerdroppings that absolutely blows ATVS out of the water.

To SouthOfSouth :bow:

I loved the tournament and what we brought to it. Memphis was frustrating because we could've won, but I don't think many were really expecting us to win. Butler was way more puzzling because of the rebounding game, it was completely unlike us. I thought everyone minus the "lower level" freshmen played very well considering the competition.

Quarterman's shot needs to come around, and soon.
Reply48 months
Memphis was killing me having to watch the turnovers. Butler killed me watching no rebounding. If we could just get more balance in those two stats, we'll be fricking scary.
Reply48 months
:bow: nice showing for the Tigers.

Cant wait until the UAB game, should be a good one.

Reply48 months
Does anyone know if we are going to get in one of these early season tournaments again next year? They are almost always beneficial down the road.
Reply48 months
The Butler win may go a long way for this team, and not just in the RPI rankings. While this Butler team may not be as good as some of their past groups, they still play the "Butler way". They don't necessarily have the outstanding athletes like many of the schools they play, but they are so well coached and are probably more fundamentally sound than any other team in the country. LSU had to go toe-to-toe with them and responded in big spots. I hate hyperbole, but I think that game could be the springboard to a very good season.

In the Memphis game, LSU played a team very similar to themselves athletically and at times got out of control trying to run at a fast pace. They can look back at this game and see that if they play a little more in control going forward, athletically, they can match up (and beat) alot of people.

The experience was also good for Martin. You could tell late in the Butler game that he started to find his footing a bit and start to understand his what his role on this team probably should be: An athletic big who can attack the basket, but also has the ability at times to hit jumpers. I'm excited to see what this team may look like going into SEC play
Reply48 months
I think Martin going to the basket off those screens were using him to his best ability. If he is going to play on the perimeter we have to find ways to get him driving to the paint.

I love that his jump shot is so quick and his height means he can get off shots against anyone, but he isn't quite to where I want him shooting from the perimeter 10 times a game. I'd rather him driving to the hoop more.
48 months
I haven't been this excited about LSU basketball in early December since O'Neal's last year. This was a heckuva tournament. Lots of contrasting styles which will help in March. Butler plays hard as nails and to come back and win this one was fantastic. :geauxtigers:
Reply48 months
Just playing some tough games will do wonders for LSU late in the year. That'll boost the tourney profile and hopefully, this team will get better as the season goes on. We should have a good conference record to pair with a decent OOC profile.

Bids aren't won in November, but they can be lost. LSU is on pace.
48 months
Can you before and after our kenpom and rpi?

Awesome tournament

Thanks for the posts/articles. We look forward to them. :cheers:
Reply48 months
KenPom went from 51 to 41. Before the Memphis loss we dropped to 30.

The nice thing about KenPom is it takes a ton of things into account, not just wins and losses. 41 is pretty good at this point. We haven't been this low in years. I follow Ken Pomeroy religiously and we are looking solid at this point.

I'm not exactly sure where we were on RPI before but RPI is flawed this early in the year. I think both wins and losses we got this week will be good for RPI moving forward.

EDIT: CBS updated their RPI this morning up to 23rd.
48 months
Great recap.

Butler, the usual excellent 3 point shooting team they are, was knocking them down left and right,and seemed to get every bounce on offensive rebounds for a while, but we stayed close and found a way. It's nice to get in a crunch time situation early where we needed a basket and Hickey delivered. Very pleased with our showing. :geauxtigers:
Reply48 months
I missed all 3 games due to being so busy bc of the holiday shuffle so I just wanted to say thanks for this. Excellent recap. :cheers:
Reply48 months
Third place behind #21 Memphis and #5 Okie st is a helluva job for LSU. I'm excited :nana:

Playing in early season tournaments gives us exposure and coach Jones will have is up there with the elite before long :geauxtigers:

ETA: great recap :bow:
Reply48 months
Pretty surprised Memphis pulled that win off against OSU considering the shite kicking OSU gave them a couple weeks ago.
48 months

Third place behind #21 Memphis and #5 Okie st is a helluva job for LSU. I'm excited

This is the best way to sum it all up! :cheers:
48 months
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