Friday, March 01, 2019

Sleeping with the enemy: LSU Tigers

I reached out to Zachary Junda from And the Valley Shook to get the Tigers' perspective on tomorrow's game.  He kindly provided the response below.  If you visit And the Valley Shook, please follow their site's rules and be a good representative of our University.

So Saturday's an important game for both teams. LSU's in that three-way tie for first in the conference, and Alabama's playing to keep their tournament hopes alive. It's the same set  circumstances as the Florida game from last week, which the Tigers dropped, and Tremont Waters had one of his worst games of the season. Add in the fact that Coleman Coliseum is a house of horrors for LSU, the Tigers are 18-69 (nice.), and Saturday makes me feel really uneasy despite the two teams' records. 

Waters should be back which is good for LSU despite winning two games without him. LSU is in desperate need for a threat at the perimeter, the Tigers shot 2-19 against A&M, and Waters provides that. But if the threes aren't falling,and it feels like lately they aren't, the Tigers have just an absurd amount of length in Naz Reid, Kavell Bigby-Williams, Emmitt Williams and Darius Days. Will Wade will start with Reid and Bigby-Williams and he can roll with any combination of the four up front. Offensive rebounding and second chance points are a strength of LSU's and it's largely owed to having three of the SEC's top-10 offensive rebounders.   

If Waters can't go, or seems rusty, LSU has been able to survive with junior Skylar Mays and freshman Javonte Smart handling the ball. Mays is LSU's best free throw shooter at 85 percent; that's good for second in the SEC. Smart saved the day for LSU against Tennessee with 29 points and he added 17 against Texas A&M Tuesday night. Waters and Mays also have active hands on the defensive end. The duo are 1 and 2 in the league in steals.  

For LSU, the goal is simple: get out of Tuscaloosa with a win. LSU controls their own destiny to claim at least a share of the SEC regular season championship. And with Tennessee playing Kentucky on Saturday, LSU has a great chance to stay atop the league standings, while the loser drops to a game back. What I worry about is does the pressure of potentially winning a league make a rather inexperienced team get tight. But the Tigers have proven to be road warriors this season, going 7-0 in league play away from Baton Rouge. I think the focus will be there, Waters will be right back where he belongs running point for the Tigers and LSU gets out of Alabama with a win. 

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