LSU Basketball: Tigers look to bounce back against Georgia


*Note: This article on LSU basketball was authored by Joshua Ivy (follow Joshua on Twitter). Joshua is new to Death Valley Voice and will add to our coverage of LSU basketball, and other LSU sports.

LSU basketball looks to avoid going 0-2 in Southeastern Conference play tonight after a disappointing overtime loss to Missouri. LSU tips off tonight at 8pm CST on ESPNU at the PMAC against a hungry Georgia Bulldogs team also in its second conference game.

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The Tigers come into tonight’s matchup with an 11-3 record, 0-1 in conference and lead the series 62-44, while the Bulldogs are 9-4 and 0-1 in conference, also fresh off a late second period loss to #23 Arkansas (79-75).

Against Missouri, LSU had leads in both halves of the game and at one point led by twelve. LSU had to rally late from a four-point deficit in the final two minutes to push the game into overtime with an absolute clutch three-pointer from Keith Hornsby. However, the Tigers fell short in overtime 74-67 to the Tigers from Mizzou.

Coach Johnny Jones, at his Friday press conference, gave his thoughts following the Mizzou loss and looking forward to Georgia:

"“It’s a quick turnaround for us after the game at Missouri last night. It was a challenging game. Offensively, we certainly didn’t have the flow or execute at the level that we needed to. Even at the free throw line as consistent as we have been being in the top three in (the SEC) in free throw shooting. Going 13-of-23 from the line last night, it was not characteristic of the team. Then, on the defensive end, we weren’t as good as what we needed to be, especially trying to cover the three-point line.”“Going into the game, we were familiar with the danger there from the scouting report and did not do a great job after getting a lead against them there in the first half, as well in the second half. We have a quick turnaround against a very tough and talented Georgia team who has a lot of starters back from last year. They are probably one of the most physical teams in our conference and will certainly present a great challenge for us (Saturday). We certainly need to be ready to be at our best and play much better than we performed last night.”"

Jones with more on the quick turnaround:

"“When you talk about prep for last night’s (Thursday against Mizzou) game and getting back late and then today. We are playing a team that has been off since playing Arkansas a few days ago. It’s a good turnaround, but that’s the schedule we are dealt with. We look forward to meeting that challenge and playing it.”"

The challenges they face going up against Georgia:

"“Their size and their strength. They have a lot of veterans on their team. They are a team that won 20-plus games last year and probably should have been in the NCAA Tournament. When you talk about (Kenny) Gaines and (Charles) Mann and their post guys, they are solid and are very physical. They are a good, defensive basketball team. They are methodical in terms of executing offensively. They are going to take their shots. They’ll get into the shot clock if need be. Their guards are 6’4”-6’5”. They are big on the perimeter as well.”"

Tigers starting forward and SEC leading scorer, sophomore forward Jarell Martin, had his worst performance of the season only shooting 3-10 from the field for 9 points in the Tigers loss to Missouri Thursday night. He had a few comments following the Mizzou loss…

 Martin on needing to avoid early foul trouble:

"“Me and Jordan (Mickey) have to stay out of foul trouble and find ways to be out there on the floor helping our teammates the best way we can.”"

Martin on how better to attack the zone defense, since it gave them fits against Mizzou, something teams will throw at them more often:

"“I definitely have some ideas when we can get the guards cut through when passing into the post and get the post man diving…that way we get some movement on the floor.”"

While both teams have tournament aspirations, starting conference play 0-2 would be a huge setback. Defensively LSU leads the conference in rebounds, steals and is only second behind Kentucky in blocks.

What the spread says

LSU is 5-2-1 against the spread in their last eight games, 4-9 against the spread against the SEC, and 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five home games against a team with a winning home record. Georgia is 5-1-1 against the spread following a loss, 24-11 against the spread against the SEC, and 4-1-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record. The home team has covered the point spread in five of the last seven meetings of these two.

DVV Prediction

For the Tigers to be successful tonight both Martin and Mickey need to get into a rhythm and avoid early foul trouble. LSU has a huge frontcourt advantage over Georgia’s backcourt and should establish dominance early. Having every statistical advantage over Georgia, except the three-point game, coupled with playing at home, LSU should win this game and go 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference play.