Tennessee (14-14) at LSU (21-8)
Wednesday, March 4th, 7:00 p.m. ET
Maravich Assembly Center (13,215) • Baton Rouge, LA
TV: SEC Network
Probable LSU Starters
G-Jalyn Patterson, 6-0, 175, FR (6.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
G-Keith Hornsby, 6-4, 210, JR (12.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
G-Tim Quarterman, 6-6, 187, SO (11.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
F-Jordan Mickey, 6-8, 235, SO (16.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg)
F-Jarell Martin, 6-10, 235, SO (16.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg)
Probable Tennessee Starters
G-Josh Richardson, 6-6, 200, SR (15.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
G-Kevin Punter, 6-4, 180, JR (10.3 ppg, .353 3FG%)
G-Robert Hubbs, 6-6, 206, SO (6.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
F-Armani Moore, 6-5, 215, JR (10.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
F-Willie Carmichael III, 6-8, 210, FR (3.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Setting the Table
The Vols played horribly against LSU in their February meeting in Knoxville – Tennessee fell 73-55, but the loss was even worse than the final score. Tennessee trailed 47-20 at the half and Tyndall summed it up best, calling it “the worst half for any team I’ve ever coached in 10 years.”
LSU has won three straight games by an average of 13 points. They’re simply playing fantastic basketball. Reigning SEC Player of the Week Tim Quarterman posted the first triple-double by a Tiger in 23 years Saturday with an 18 point, 10 rebound and 10 assist performance in a win over LSU. He was 3-4 from 3-point range against the Vols in their earlier meeting and posted an impressive stat line of 13 points, six rebounds and six assists.
A win would snap Tennessee’s first five-game losing streak since the 2000-2001 season and guarantee the Vols at least a .500 regular season record. It would also give the Vols five SEC road wins for the first time since 2011.
“The biggest thing is that we were really reluctant in the first half offensively to drive the ball and make plays against those big guys because of that we took some bad long, contested shots. That led to transition opportunities for LSU. When we did drive the ball we were kind of looking for the shot blockers. They ended up blocking nine shots, but they probably changed or challenged an additional nine. When you drive the ball they are going to get one or two. You have to understand that on the front end, but if you go in trying to throw up what we call hope shots, where you throw it up and kind of hope it goes in, then again it is going to lead to transition opportunities at the other end. That is where their team is really good. I hope that we have learned from that and are better for it.”
– Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndall on his team’s struggles against LSU in Knoxville
Freshman Vol power forward Jabari McGhee is out for the season after foot surgery. Junior Guard Devon Baulkman will be playing with a torn ligament in his left shoulder. Ian Chiles, who missed significant time this season due to toe and shoulder injuries, had surgery on his injured shoulder and will miss the remainder of the season. Detrick Mostella played against Florida after missing the Vanderbilt game due to an ankle injury. He should be good to go against LSU.
3 keys for the Vols
1. Attack the Paint: In their first meeting, Tennessee played scared offensively, especially in the first half, and let LSU’s size intimidate them. They can’t drive into the paint and throw up wild shots, but disciplined pump fakes and pull up jumpers should be there for the taking against the Tigers. Maintaining aggressiveness is the only shot the Vols have at the upset.
2. Get Punter Going: Kevin Punter is 4-17 from the field and 1-11 from 3-point range over the last two games. The Vols can’t beat the Tigers without more production from Punter. He needs to attack the paint as well – he’s gone five straight games without a free throw attempt.
3. Limit Transition Buckets: LSU loves to get out and run the floor – Tennessee learned that the hard way in their earlier meeting. The Vols can’t let them play in the open floor or they’ll get run out of Baton Rouge. That starts with taking care of the basketball and with getting back defensively.
KenPom.com: LSU 72-61
Daniel: LSU 76-60
Houston: LSU 72-55
Reed: LSU 68-50