LSU comes into this weekend off of back-to-back SEC wins against solid competition, improving to 13-3, 2-1. On Wednesday night the Tigers ventured into the “Tad Pad” and beat the Ole Miss Rebels in decisive fashion, 75-71. Now, Coach Johnny Jones’ Tigers have a two-day turnaround at home against a Texas A&M team that is 10-5, 1-1 in SEC play, fresh off their first SEC win.
When: Saturday, January 17th @ 11AM CST
Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, La
Jan 14, 2015; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels guard Martavious Newby (1) shoots the ball against LSU Tigers guard Tim Quarterman (55) and LSU Tigers forward Jordan Mickey (25) during the game at C.M.Tad Smith Coliseum. LSU Tigers defeat the Mississippi Rebels 75-71. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Wednesday night LSU faced another zone defense in Ole Miss, who always double teams possessions in the backcourt. Previously, the zone has given LSU fits, but they moved the ball well and kept an uptempo offense, giving Ole Miss very little time to react out shooting in the low post and perimeter.
Tigers versus Aggies stats
- LSU averages 75.8 ppg to A&M’s 68.2 ppg, which is 171st nationally.
- In the last four meeting, the Tigers are 3-1 against the Aggies, most recently embarrasing them by almost 20 points on February 26, 2014.
- Since 1980, LSU has a 10 point margin of victory over A&M in 8 victories.
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The front court duo was back against the Rebels. Jordan Mickey started slow in the first half, but got into a groove in the second ending the night with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Jarell Martin has struggled in his first two SEC games and LSU has needed other players to fill his gap. However, against Ole Miss we got to see Martin do work… finally! He was an absolute monster in the low post, shooting 75 percent from the field for 18 points and 14 rebounds. Look for Martin and Mickey to pick on Kourtney Robinson, the Aggies only real low post threat.
When Josh Gray distributes the ball and plays well LSU wins. In the Tigers loss to Mizzou, Gray went 0-of-5 with 2 points and 2 assists. In LSU’s three losses combined he only had 11 assists. Since the Mizzou game he has gone 10-of-23 with 29 points and 16 assists in two pivotal SEC wins. The Aggies backcourt isn’t to the level of Ole Miss’. Look for Gray to have another great performance with 10 points and 8 assists.
It is very promising to see different players stepping up each week. Against Georgia it was Tim Quarterman. and Wednesday night against the Rebels it was Keith Hornsby. Hornsby led the team with 23 points, 20 of which came in the second half shooting 5-of-10 from the arc. Hornsby will shoot more to his average this game, but expect Quarterman to get double digits.
“What the spread says” is back this week
LSU is 7-7-1 against the spread this season and 4-5-1 at home. The Aggies are 0-4 on the road this season. There hasn’t been a line released yet on this game, but I imagine LSU will open around a five to seven point favorite. I will update once the line is released.
The difference in this game will be rebounding and free throws. LSU is ranked 8th in the country averaging 41.1 rpg and allows only 28.6 rpg, which is 7th nationally. A&M comes into the game as one of the worst rebounding teams in the country giving up 35.8 rpg – look for Martin or Mickey to have a season high night on boards. The Aggies come into Saturday’s matchup shooting 63 percent from the line. Free throws were almost their demise against Mississippi State, missing 13 free throws before sinking 11-of-14 in the final minutes to hold off a late push from the Bulldogs.
Against good competition you cannot shoot poorly from the line and expect to come out on top. The Aggies will continue their struggle, coupled with Martin and Mickey improving play against the zone down in the post. We will see them combine for 20+ rebounds and the Tigers will improve to 3-1 in the SEC against a middle of the road Aggies team.
Tigers over the Aggies by 5.