An LSU team that is hurting mentally and physically and fighting for its NCAA Tournament life will take on an Arkansas team wanting to send its two seniors out on a high note on Saturday.
It is the regular season finale, the final home game for the No. 18 Razorbacks (24-6, 13-4) and the final career home game for Arkansas seniors Rashad Madden and Alandise Harris and will be nationally televised by ESPN at 1 p.m.
“It's going to be a big game,” Anderson said. “Should be a great, great atmosphere. Sold out. Our team is playing at a high level.
“And so it gives our fans a chance to come in and not only get a chance to watch our team play and encourage them as they play, but we've got two seniors,” Anderson added. “We want to send them out the right way in their last home game.”
The Tigers (21-9, 10-7) saw their Big Dance chances flicker in a stunning 78-63 home loss to Tennessee Wednesday night that also saw sophomore star Jordan Mickey (6-8, 235) suffer an injury.
That means head coach Johnny Jones’ LSU squad - who had won three straight - will likely play frenetically and with reckless abandon when it visits No. 18 Arkansas (24-6, 13-4).
“Well, you want your players to be passionate about what they are doing and care enough,” Jones said. “When you care enough about it, a lot of times you have the ability to dig deeper, play harder, and stronger because you do care.”
The Tigers were shocked by the Vols and their 70 percent shooting in the second half on Wednesday.
“After coming off of a tough game (Wednesday) night, we certainly have to put our attention and sights on a really tough Arkansas basketball team, a team that has played well all year,” Jones said. “They have a lot of returning players from last year’s team with a great deal of experience.
“When you look across the board in terms of statistical leaders in our league, they are right up there at the top and rightfully so,” Jones added. “They’ve done a marvelous job offensively. Defensively, they certainly get after you with their pressure and try to wear you down.
“We have to be really prepared for the challenges that will exist for us on Saturday,” Jones continued.
Anderson’s team is locked in as the second seed in next weekend’s SEC Tournament in Nashville and is coming in off a 78-74 win at South Carolina on Thursday night.
Arkansas led by 20 at South Carolina, trailed by 11 and then rallied to score 18 of the game’s last 21 for the win.
It was the seventh overall road win of the season for the Razorbacks, who are 6-2 on the road in SEC play this season, and will be playing a second game in 48 hours.
“It's a quick turnaround,” Anderson said. “It's happened before but I think our team can absorb it because of the depth that we have…We'll have a light workout today and then go play. Our guys, they'd rather play than practice. I know that, for sure.”
Mickey - a player that Arkansas recruited hard - hurt his left shoulder in the game on Wednesday.
“I'm sure he should be able to get back if treated properly," Jones said. "I'm not sure what percent he'll be. I'm glad it's his left (shoulder) and not his right. But I'm thinking he'll possibly be back.
"We may have to address some things, be it at practice and even in-game to maybe help him," Jones added. "I'm not sure if he's able to give us that same burst or pop that he's been giving us most of the year. We just have to try to figure out a way to address that.”
Mickey (16.0, 9.9) joins 6-10, 235-pound sophomore Jarrell Martin (16.6, 9.0) in giving LSU two NBA pro prospects.
“Jordan Mickey, one of the best defensive players, not only in our league, but I think in the country,” Anderson said. “Tremendous shot-blocker. Can really score. And of course, the Martin kid is having an outstanding year as well.”
The Tigers also have a sharpshooter in 6-4 junior guard Keith Hornsby (13.2) - son of acclaimed musician Bruce Hornsby - and 6-6 sophomore guard Tim Quarterman (11.7) averaging in double figures.
It will not be a game in which either team tries to slow it down as both like to play an up-tempo game.
“Should be a great game,” Anderson said. “I think you're going to see two athletic teams who like to get up and down the floor. Some tremendous athletes and some good basketball players. Should be a lot of highlight plays going back and forth.”
Razorbacks Set To Host Wounded Tigers
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Scout On the Road: SeptemberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of September...
Scout FootballWednesday at 2:00 PM
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM