After a loss at Alabama, LSU (13-8, 4-6) tries to get back in a groove this week and re-ignite talks of postseason possibilities with games against South Carolina and Mississippi State, two teams at the bottom of the SEC with only two conference wins apiece.
The first of those contests tips tonight in Columbia at 6 p.m. Central Time. ESPN2 will have the television broadcast.
South Carolina (12-11, 2-8) has won only once in league play – vs. South Carolina Jan. 26 – since outlasting the Tigers in overtime in Baton Rouge, 82-73, on Jan. 16.
The Gamecocks' win at LSU remains the only victory in a true road game for Frank Martin's team in the 2012-13 season.
Here are the projected starting lineups for tonight's matchup.
LSU (13-8, 4-6)
G Anthony Hickey (So., 5-11, 178) – 12.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.4 apg
G Andre Stringer (Jr., 5-10, 182) – 10.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 39.6% 3s
G Malik Morgan (Fr., 6-4, 188) – 5.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 39.4% FGs
F Shavon Coleman (Jr., 6-5, 195) – 11.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 46.2% FGs
F Johnny O'Bryant (Jr., 6-9, 258) – 12.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 46.3% FGs
Key Rotational Players: G Charles Carmouche (Sr., 6-4, 187; averages 9.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg)
South Carolina (12-11, 2-8)
G Bruce Ellington (Jr., 5-9, 197) – 9.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 34.8% FGs
G Eric Smith (Jr., 5-11, 205) – 5.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 34.6% FGs
G Brian Richardson (Jr., 6-4, 175) – 8.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 38.9% 3s
F Michael Carrera (Fr., 6-5, 212) – 11.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 49.3% FGs
F Lakeem Jackson (Sr., 6-5, 235) – 8.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 58.0% FGs
Key Rotational Players: G Damien Leonard (So., 6-4, 190; averages 3.7 ppg and 2.3 rpg) and F R.J. Slawson (Jr., 6-8, 220; averages 4.7 ppg and 3.7 rpg)
And below are some quotes from LSU coach Johnny Jones on tonight's matchup and how the Tigers and Gamecocks stack up.
On playing three games in six days …
"I think you have to be smart about practice," said Jones. "… Play the game and then get back in here on Friday. Same thing, it will be more about scouting report at that time, then a practice because you've got an early turn around and play at about four o'clock on Saturday. Generally, we're off on Sundays, but we'll have to come back this Sunday. Because of the two games, it will be more about film and attention to detail, getting better. We have to sharpen that on Sunday and the same on Monday because it's a quick turnaround. You're definitely going to need their bodies, legs and all those things for those three days, and turning around and playing that game on Tuesday as well. I try to tell them what you usually get done (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) will dictate how you feel about going into those games and winning them, because those next few days is just about attention to detail."
On closing out games and reflecting on earlier loss to South Carolina ...
"Competing or executing at a high level and making big time plays at the end, in those last two minutes of the game, I think is huge," Jones said. "Not just offensively, but defensively. We lost some games because we gave up some tough rebounds, we were out rebounded, or out toughed at times and gave up some tough offensive rebounds on the other end of the floor allowing teams to keep alive an additional possession. South Carolina was one of those. I thought late in the game we had a chance to get some big rebounds. We didn't, and they got put backs or fouls stopping the clock. I think that's how they got back in the game after we were up about four with two minutes to play, instead of closing them out."
PREVIEW: LSU vs. South Carolina
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